The earthquake may have shaken up a lot of things in Washington, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is standing firm on his plans to ensure that the deficit does not continue to expand. So, if members of his district want help cleaning up or fixing damaged structures, first the government needs to find some new place to cut spending to balance it out.
Via Roll Call:
“There is an appropriate federal role in incidents like this,” the Republican said after touring the damage in his district. “Obviously, the problem is that people in Virginia don’t have earthquake insurance.”
The next step will be for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to decide whether to make an appeal for federal aid, Cantor said. The House Majority Leader would support such an effort but would look to offset the cost elsewhere in the federal budget.
“All of us know that the federal government is busy spending money it doesn’t have,” Cantor said in Culpeper, where the quake damaged some buildings along a busy shopping thoroughfare.
Sound familiar? It should. Cantor also made the same proclamation of no aid without spending cuts to offset it when the Midwest was devastated by massive tornadoes earlier this summer.
Earlier disaster relief aid was offset with leftover stimulus funding that went unspent. But it’s unlikely that there are many more such bones to pick clean in the budget cabinet, especially after the austerity measures that have been already taken this year.
If there’s nothing unspent to offset the aid, will Cantor really make his constituents pay for the damage themselves, right before heading into an election cycle? Or will he look for more social safety net programs he can strip a bit from in order to ensure the government is “living within its means”?
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