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After Irene Batters Her District, GOP Rep. Hayworth Pledges To Hold Disaster Funds Hostage For Budget Cuts

By Zaid Jilani  

"After Irene Batters Her District, GOP Rep. Hayworth Pledges To Hold Disaster Funds Hostage For Budget Cuts"

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Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY)

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) shockingly demanded that Congress should not approve emergency aid to states battered by Hurricane Irene unless it makes offsetting budget cuts elsewhere first. Several other congressional Republicans have made the same demand since then.

Now, Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY) has joined this chorus of disaster aid hostage takers. Hayworth, who represents a portion of New York that the hurricane hit, said Congress has to have budget cuts before it allocates more disaster aid because the “challenges we face with the national budget have not changed,” and likened it to a family skipping a vacation:

Only days after a record-setting storm destroyed her district, Rep. Nan Hayworth and her House colleagues threatened to withhold disaster money if lawmakers don’t cut additional spending from the federal budget. “We’re facing a natural disaster in the middle of an economic disaster,” Hayworth said Wednesday. “Certainly, the challenges we face with the national budget have not changed.”

Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, said she would only vote to replenish the federal disaster fund if new spending was offset by budget cuts. She said those cuts should come from “non-defense discretionary spending.” Hayworth likened her position to a family skipping vacation if it was overwhelmed by bills. “We have to control spending,” she said. “There’s no question about it.”

Hayworth represents a number of cities, including Yorktown, that were battered by Irene. Thousands of her constituents were left without power and there was widespread flooding and damage to water systems, as some towns are now warning their residents to boil their water before consumption. Orange County alone said it received three times as many emergency phone calls as during a major snowstorm in February 2010, and 36,000 people were left without access to electricity. A resident of the town of Monroe in Orange County posted a YouTube video of the streets outside, where natural waterfalls had formed from flooding and cars were stuck in water:

Both Govs. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) and Chris Christie (R-NJ) have called on their fellow Republicans to immediately deliver disaster aid and put aside hostage taking about complimentary budget cuts.

Update

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) seemed to reaffirm his stance after retweeting a tweet by Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) also demanding budget cuts for disaster aid.

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