By The Big Guy
This week, ten weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck the northeast, the House of Representatives passed a bill augmenting a previous allocation of federal funds with an additional fifty-one billion dollars to help restore the devastated area. The vote was 241-180.
When Hurricane Katrina destroyed lives and uprooted families in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005, Congress was quick to overwhelmingly approve funds for that devastated area. Wilma later that same year destroyed coastal regions of Florida and again Congress was quick to decisively act. In 2008 the name was Ike and the target stretched from Louisiana all the way over to Texas with additional damage to the Florida panhandle and Mississippi. More congressionally approved monies.
Then there are the tornadoes. There was Joplin, Missouri, May 2011 where 185 people died. One month earlier several cities in Alabama suffered major damage or were wiped out entirely. Last year, eleven people were killed in Indiana, ten in Kentucky. Eighty percent of the town of Moscow, Ohio was destroyed and three of its residents killed. In April a tornado caused severe damage in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A month later six were killed in Oklahoma. And just this past Christmas tornadoes touched down in Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. Fortunately, they brought no fatalities. And each time, as needed, Congress stepped in and without much deliberation passed whatever spending bills were necessary to provide funds to allow for rebuilding, to bring whatever relief they could to people who had their lives tossed in the fury of the storms.
Let’s get back to that vote earlier in the week: The bill passed the House by a vote of 241-180. Four Republican congressmen from Alabama voted against the aid. Thirteen Republican congressmen from Florida also felt the aid bill unworthy of passage. Indiana Republicans provided six ‘no’ votes, Kentucky, three and Louisiana three more. Apparently five Republican congressmen in Missouri have already forgotten about the aid that came to Joplin so they also voted in the negative. Ohio managed ten ‘no’ votes on the Republican side, not counting the speaker who, as is customary, did not vote. On the roll goes, capped by a resounding twenty-three Republican ‘no’s from the great state of Texas, which you may note has apparently decided to disregard the fact that they are no stranger to natural disaster.
In all, 179 of the 180 votes against sending aid to rebuild the destruction of life and property in the states of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut came from Republican congressmen who apparently now look upon disaster relief as charity. Only forty-nine Republicans (and twelve of them were from the states struck by Sandy) voted with 192 of 193 Democrats to send the essential aid.
This is what it has come to. New lines are being drawn. Where are we all going when you can’t look to fellow countrymen for comfort in a time of need?