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Editorial: Harvey, Sandy and hypocrisy

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Posted on August 31, 2017 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



As Americans across the nation reach out with sympathy to Texans reeling from Hurricane Harvey’s destruction, Congress has briefly united to pledge the full help of the federal government. Democrats were there solidly in support of their Republican colleagues in the solidly Republican state. Truly, as President Obama said many times during his eight years in office, in times of crisis we are not red and blue America, but a united America.

And yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) made it clear that Democrats would play only a major role in helping Texans get the aid they need: “Republicans must be ready to join Democrats in passing a timely relief bill that makes all necessary resources available through emergency spending.” 

Five years ago, when Hurricane Sandy devastated large parts of the Northeast, Republicans were not so generous.

Here are those facts as recorded in the Congressional logs: Congress proposed a $50 billion spending bill to help the Northeast recover. In the House, the package passed by 241-180, with only one Democrat voting against it and 192 voting in favor. Among Republicans, however, 49 voted yes and 179 voted no. In the Texas delegation, 23 of 24 Republicans voted no. The vote was similar in the Senate: All the Democrats voted yes, while 36 Republicans voted no and only eight voted yes. Among those 36 were Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas. Fortunately, it passed in the Senate as well.

Yet, this week, it was the Texas delegation who sent out an immediate appeal for federal help the moment Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast. Hypocrisy? As bald-faced as it gets.

Some conservative talking heads will try to tar Democrats with the same brush, saying Dems would be just as hypocritical. The facts show otherwise. When Katrina hit New Orleans, Democrats were strong in their support of federal assistance, and while there will be a debate about the extent of aid to Texas, most Democrats (if it’s a vote up or down on hurricane relief, and not tied to funding Trump’s wall or some other budget blackmail) will vote to help their fellow Americans in Texas.

That’s because Democrats believe it’s government’s role to help its citizens when in dire need. Today’s Republicans, on the other hand, are quick to vote for federal aid when it helps their own, but not so much if those states are blue.

Imagine, 23 of 24 House Republicans from Texas, among 156 others, voted not to fund federal aid for Hurricane Sandy’s victims, and 36 Republican senators joined them in opposition. What does that say about the GOP?

Angelo Lynn

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