Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: “It should have some spending cuts as a down payment on controlling the size of our federal government.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Richmond, Virginia: “We’ve had to bring this president kicking and screaming to the table to cut spending.”
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio: “It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.”
These Republicans, along with others in Congress and statehouses like Trenton and Madison, demand smaller government and lower spending, yet they have not complained about the federal government’s aid to the Republican-dominated Southern states ravaged by storms and tornadoes that left 350 people dead.
More after the jump.
“They have been very proactive and very reactive to our requests,” Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, a northern Alabama Republican, told The New York Times.
Aderholt was praising the Obama administration’s response to the storms, mainly through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When the president visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., the hardest hit area in the region, Obama said, “We’re going to make sure that you’re not forgotten and that we do everything we can make sure that we rebuild.”
Obama signed a disaster declaration for Alabama on Thursday, April 28, 2011, and subsequently signed disaster declarations for Georgia and Mississippi.
FEMA administrator W. Craig Fugate explained that the declarations sought by these states mean that the federal government will pay 75 percent of the uninsured costs to repair public buildings; that residents can qualify for modest recovery grants; and that businesses can apply for low-interest loans.
FEMA also assigned liaison officers to Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, a spokesman said.
Aderholt, a veteran House member who seems more reasonable than extremist Republicans, is not resisting the government’s aid to Alabama and the other southern states. Most of them are represented by Republicans in the Senate, the House and their respective governor’s offices.
Probably some people wish that Obama had rejected these disaster declarations in the spirit of shrinking government. If Republicans want less government, why would they accept federal aid for storm relief?
Back in Washington, the GOP House and Senate members from these states have been plotting to eliminate programs that help all Americans generally and big cities specifically.
Never did they express such urgent concern when they voted to invade two fragmented countries one after the other and cut taxes for the wealthy.
The hypocrisy is glaring, but the disasters plaguing the South show that even southern states need government. The only effective means of resolving America’s many problems is to involve government, directly or indirectly.
We all certainly recognize that there are many problems with government.
Ronald Reagan’s proclamation that “Government is the problem” distorts the situation. Government is “a” problem when it does not carry out its responsibilities properly. Did Reagan do his job or was he “the problem” for eight years?
The same question can posed to Boehner, Cantor and Graham.