Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) shockingly said that Congress should not approve emergency aid to states battered by Hurricane Irene unless it makes offsetting budget cuts elsewhere first. Cantor has been joined by several other congressional Republicans in demanding offsets be found for disaster relief.
Yesterday, the leading Republican in Cantor’s own state, Gov. Bob McDonnell, rebuked him and said disaster aid should not be held hostage for budget cuts. Now, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is joining this chorus of Republican dissent, saying that aid should be delivered first and that possible cuts should be decided on later. “Our people are suffering now, and they need support now,” said Christie:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reacted angrily to a fight brewing in Washington over whether Hurricane Irene disaster aid may need to be offset by federal spending cuts. “Our people are suffering now, and they need support now. And they [Congress] can all go down there and get back to work and figure out budget cuts later,” the Republican governor told a crowd in the flood-ravaged North Jersey town of Lincoln Park.
New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management and FEMA are currently surveying damage to the state from Hurricane Irene. Many school districts have delayed the beginning of the school year due to Irene, and they are expected to begin applications for federal aid shortly.