House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is sticking by his call that any disaster relief funding to areas affected by Hurricane Irene be offset by budget cuts elsewhere (with his preferred offsets including cuts to first responders). Disgraced Hurricane Katrina-era FEMA Administrator Mike “heckuva job” Brown agreed with Cantor today that deficit concerns should be placed over the needs of Americans affected by the hurricane.
During an interview with Bloomberg News, GOP Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) jumped on board this effort, saying that it’s necessary to offset disaster aid in order to “tell the world and the business markets that we’re trying to turn off the spigot of debt”:
SCHWEIKERT: Leader Cantor made it very clear. We will step up and help our brothers and sisters out there in need. In a three-plus trillion dollar federal budget, I promise you, we’ll find some offsets and we’ll find them fairly simply. The political culture of the left is let’s just borrow the money and, one day in the future, we’ll have an honest discussion about that borrowing. We’re trying to tell the world and the business markets that we’re trying to turn off the spigot of debt and this will be a good symbol. We’ll get the money to help our disaster victims, and yet, it will be, I actually believe, somewhat easy to find some offsets out there that hopefully we can all embrace.
Schweikert doesn’t only think that disaster aid needs to be offset in order to prove something to the “market.” He has also said Congress should pass the House Republicans’ Medicare-ending budget because “you don’t create jobs, you don’t have investment until the markets, and those that hold the capital to do those investments, have some sense that we’re going to bend this debt curve.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney criticized the GOP’s position today, saying “I cant help but say that I wish that commitment to looking for offsets had been held…during the previous administration.”