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At a time like this, of course, it is essential that government emergency services, particularly federal, be ready to help those areas that need relief. Think of the people who will need food and shelter, the infrastructure that will need to be repaired and possibly rebuilt, the devastation that may soon come.
Think back to Katrina. We learned a lot from that catastrophe, did we not?
Well, not all of us.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor didn't -- or at least doesn't seem to care.
Just as Republicans held the country hostage over the debt ceiling ("give us what we want, or else"), Cantor is now trying to do the same over disaster relief (some of which may be needed in his home state of Virginia, which is in Irene's path). As his spokesperson explained, "Eric has consistently said that additional funds for federal disaster relief ought to be offset with spending cuts."
It's one thing to demand offsets in theory, or even at the negotiating table, quite another to do so with a major hurricane bearing down, with a natural disaster possibly at hand. It would be like if a dying man desperately needed a blood transfusion but you refused to give him any unless he gave you his house and car. (Which is actually how health care works in the U.S., but let's not go there.)