In a stunningly heartless move, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) put strings on emergency relief for the victims of the killer Joplin tornado, saying that other government services would have to be cut to offset aid spending. Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) to add $1 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund, offset by cutting $1.5 billion from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program at the Department of Energy. On MSNBC’s Ed Show, Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) called the decision “just plain wrong”:
When you talk about cutting clean energy programs versus cutting subsidies for big oil, let’s have that debate here in Washington. But not on the backs of the people of Joplin.
Scientists have warned for decades that our climate system would grow deadlier as greenhouse pollution from coal and oil increases, with greater floods, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and storms. Instead of responding to reality by mobilizing our nation to protect people from climate disasters and build a resilient, green economy, Republicans are keeping us tethered to big oil.
“It is staggeringly shortsighted to pay for the economic losses of climate disasters by choking off funding for policies that reduce the threat of future climate disasters,” said Bracken Hendricks, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program is helping US companies right now, to remain competitive and protect good manufacturing jobs, by producing highly efficient vehicles that cut dependence on foreign oil. What’s next? Should we cut funding for flood insurance and slash the FEMA budget to pay for flood damage along the Mississippi?”
ThinkProgress has acquired the text of the Aderholt amendment. Of the $1.5 billion cut from the clean cars program, only $1 billion is directed to disaster relief, while $500 million is simply rescinded.