Treading biparistan backlash against his callous position on hurricane aid, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has pointed to his principled consistency on requiring all federal disaster aid be offset with cuts to other programs.
This claim of consistency, however, lacks consistency. As the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports, Cantor actually voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid in 2004 that would have “fully offset” the cost of that bill:
[A] bemused Democratic source notes that in October 2004, Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have “fully offset” the cost of that supplemental with “a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding” elsewhere. Funding for defense, homeland security, and veterans was exempted from the proposed cuts. But the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), would do precisely what Republican leadership is proposing to do now. [...]
The 2004 emergency supplemental was proposed after five hurricanes hit the United States, including Tropical Storm Gaston, which did damage to Cantor’s home district of Richmond. But Irene and this summer’s east-coast earthquake also hit Virginia, meaning that provincial interests aren’t necessarily what changed Cantor’s tune.
Indeed, Cantor was among the first to request “immediate action” and millions in federal assistance to address “the magnitude of the damage” from Gaston. Cantor’s spokesman Brad Dayspring insists Cantor’s change of heart is justified by the increase in deficit. “We are living in different times,” he said.