As expected, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will try to see to it that federal disaster aid to regions damaged by Hurricane Irene be offset by concomitant cuts to other federal programs.
“Yes there’s a federal role, yes we’re going to find the money — we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so,” Cantor told Fox News on Monday.
This won’t be a shock to close observers of the House GOP, who’ve seen this script before. Cantor’s staff reiterated the cuts-for-aid policy to TPM Thursday. But it will surprise voters who, for instance, recall trillion-dollar unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Cantor points out that the House passed a billion additional dollars of disaster relief (offset by a cut to a program incentivizing the production of fuel efficient vehicles) aimed at tornado stricken regions in Missouri and Alabama that the Senate hasn’t acted on. But that money’s part of a broad Homeland Security appropriations bill, not stand-alone legislation, and the damage Irene caused is expected to run into the billions — the earliest estimates had total losses at about $7 billion.
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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.