On Friday the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected the House’s measure to fund FEMA. The Hill reported on Friday:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), meanwhile, says the burden of passage now falls to Reid. “We’re intending that the money gets to FEMA and to disaster victims as they need it,” Cantor said after the vote. “Harry Reid’s political ploy is not going to work.”
If Senate Democrats kill the House bill, “then I guess Harry Reid will have to bear the burden of denying disaster ... victims the money that they need,” Cantor charged.
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) remarkably found that his self-created crisis wasn’t a crisis at all. It seems he didn’t want to bear the burden of denying disaster-relief victims their money after all.
A House Republican aide reminds me how we got to a final deal. Two weeks ago, Reid got 62 votes for $7 billion of disaster spending, without any offsets. He said FEMA desperately needed the money to provide to disaster victims. Republicans rejected that. Then last week, Reid asked for $1 billion in disaster spending, without any offsets. He said FEMA desperately needed the money because it would run out by Sept. 27. The GOP said forget it and went home for the weekend.
Finally, Reid abandoned all the demands for new money and agreed to move a clean continuing resolution. You see, he and the administration have decided that FEMA doesn’t need the money. The exasperated aide tells me, “Talk about playing politics with disaster relief. Harry Reid owes every victim of these natural disasters an apology.” Well, don’t hold your breath waiting for that one.
But, in fact, Reid’s theatrics only underscores that most of what the Democrats say we must have amounts either to a political ploy or a refusal to look at meaningful spending cuts. In this case, it was both.