It seems that the current session of Congress will adjourn without addressing the funding requirements of Superstorm Sandy recovery:
New York area-lawmakers in both parties erupted in anger late Tuesday night after learning the House Republican leadership decided to allow the current term of Congress to end without holding a vote on aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said he was told by the office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia that Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had decided to abandon a vote this session.
In remarks on the House floor, King called the decision “absolutely inexcusable, absolutely indefensible. We cannot just walk away from our responsibilities.”
Representative King suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of an argument within his own political party. Without taking a position on the size of any appropriate federal appropriation of recovery funds, I’d just like to highlight a few points:
Does the base of the Republican party find itself strongly represented in the Northeast? Probably not. Do House members from the Midwest elected on platforms dedicated to cutting federal spending want to vote for large aid packages for New York City? Probably not. Does Representative King understand the political currents he is wading against? I would guess yes…but this is the same individual who voiced strong support for the IRA “back in the day,” but now positions himself as a premier defender against global terrorist threats.
It probably is also not a good time to remind the good member of Congress of his own words during the kerfuffle over the “Ground Zero Mosque:”
Even though a mosque is supposed to be a religious setting, ground zero may not be an appropriate spot for this or any proposed mosque, King said.
“Right at this moment in history, it’s bad form to put it there,” he said. “There are things you are allowed to do, but that aren’t appropriate to do.”
He might want to consider the facts that his fellow caucus members took those words to heart in regards to their own view of the viability of a large aid package to Sandy’s victims.
Such Congressional spending may be usually presented as a moral choice, but in reality it is always a political one. It does not matter if King’s past and current opinions have been morally and/or politically justified, but his current lack of influence/importance for his constituents is a result of the underlying dynamics existing within his own political party.
He might even learn a valuable lesson about the negative effects of demonizing a group–whether they be Muslims or recipients of any type of federal government aid.