« BACK  |  PRINT

RS

MEMBER DIARY

Claire McCaskill politicizes Joplin, Missouri disaster.

Senator McCaskill ended speculation whether or not she was behind in polls for her re-election Wednesday after chiding Majority Whip Eric Cantor from the floor of the United States Senate and using the disaster in Joplin, Missouri as a political football.

In a statement, Senator McCaskill chided Majority Whip Eric Cantor’s call to ensure there would be offsets for disaster spending.

To make such an outrageous statement on the floor of the United States Senate may indicate Claire running significantly behind both Republicans Sarah Steelman and Todd Akin.

If you were to hear Senator McCaskill’s side only you would undoubtedly buy into what may be her only campaign strategy for the upcoming election: paint Republicans as heartless greedy individuals without care in the world for the average citizen.

Being a media built darling, of course, allows her freedom to make such claims without many facts. Such is the case here.

Truth is House Republicans consider FEMA funding a high priority and passed the necessary funding increases and cuts they day before Senator McCaskill made her statement.

According to Cantor spokes person federal funding for disaster relief is a top priority and FEMA funding will run out by years end and programs were already terminated in an effort to add over 1 Billion in additional funding.

What were the specifics off sets? Unused money from the DOE vehicle loan program.

In a press release dated May 24th, 2011 House Appropriates Committee Chairman Hal Rogers explained expanded FEMA funding in an effort to allow for recent natural disasters, which passed with bipartisan support out of committee on Tuesday :

As part of the Homeland Security bill, the Committee passed an amendment - offered by Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt – to add $1 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund, offset by funding reductions from the under-performing Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program at the Department of Energy. The additional FEMA funds are necessary to continue to respond to devastating natural disasters – including the recent tornados and flooding in the Midwest and South. In contrast, the vehicle loan program at DOE currently has $4.2 billion in unspent funding that has been available since 2008 – including at least $2 billion more than the program applicants have applied for.

So, contrary to Senator McCaskill’s claims, a funding shell game is not being played. Money is being directed to help Americans who are in the most dire need, as it should be.

In fact, legislation passed out of committee the day before by cutting unspent money, something Senator McCaskill should be proud of if she was a real fiscal conservative. However, as most Missourians know, she is not.

The truth is, FEMA funding will pass unless Democrats in the Senate try to kill any such legislation by demanding the unspent DOE money be restored. After all, there is a need to continue the narrative that Republicans are all heartless meanies, right?

Get Alerts