Disaster victims who receive a helping hand from the federal government this year would do well to remember a STANCE taken by the Republican Party’s newest saint:
As Hurricane Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, there should be plenty of money – some $1.5 billion – in federal disaster aid coffers, thanks, in part, to a new system that budgets help for victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods before they occur.
It’s a system that Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee-to-be for vice president, had hoped to scrap as a way to make his House GOP budget look smaller by about $10 billion a year. Politely, party elders told him no way, at least for now.
Capitol Hill Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana were the driving force behind the new disaster funding scheme and made it part of last summer’s hard-fought budget pact with backing from President Barack Obama. Prior to that, the president had given short shrift to budgeting for disasters before a spate of them early last year, including tornadoes that ripped through Missouri and Alabama.
Congresses and administrations, after all, always had been fairly forthcoming with whatever disaster aid was needed after the fact, though the rise to power of tea party Republicans contributed to delays in providing disaster money last year.
The new system means disaster aid will not have to compete with other programs for financing, nor have to rely on less certain ad hoc funding at the height of a crisis.