San Diego’s Local Republican Congressmen Voted for Romney-Ryan Budget that Reduced Emergency Disaster Relief Monies

by on November 2, 2012 · 3 comments

in California, Economy, Environment, San Diego

Bilbray, Hunter, and Issa All Voted to Reduce Disaster Relief

From East County Magazine / Nov. 2, 2012

San Diego’s local Republican Congressmen Brian Bilbray, Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa voted for the Paul Ryan budget which would have deeply reduced emergency response and preparedness to disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and local wildfires. An analysis from Third Way says that the Ryan-Bilbray budget “would set the clock back on disaster preparation to the days before Hurricane Katrina.”

Mitt Romney, in a primary debate, called disaster relief “immoral” and said he would privatize FEMA. Following Hurricane Sandy, he has sought to blur his stance, though his running mate’s budget would also have radically cut federal aid and hampered states’ abilities to respond when disasters strike. The Ryan budget passed the House but failed in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Scott Peters, who is running against Bilbray, slammed his opponent for turning his back on disaster victims. Peters’ campaign forwarded an October 30 article in Politico titled” Ryan budget could hammer storm aid, critics say.” The article noted that the Ryan budget would have cut non-defense discretionary funding by 22 percent.

“These are very deep cuts to a part of the budget that’s already been cut a lot,” Michael Leachman, the lead author of a report on the cuts, told POLITICO. “I think that it’s pretty clear that the part of the budget that includes disaster relief and other forms of state and local aid would have a pretty big target on its back.” He added, “ These kind of cuts would come at a time when states and localities are already hobbled by the recession and the sluggish economy.” He estimates that states and local governments could lose $28 billion in 2014 under Ryan’s plan if funding for state aid is indeed cut by 22 percent.

David Kendall, a senior fellow for health and fiscal policy at the think tank Third Way, said Ryan’s budget cuts “community and regional development,” which includes FEMA, by 62 percent below the Office of Management and Budget’s baseline.“Four of every 10 dollars from [community and regional development] goes to disaster relief, so it would be virtually impossible for FEMA to avoid major cuts if the Republicans implemented their budget proposal,” he said.

Kendall also said cuts under Ryan’s budget would prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from launching a replacement polar satellite on time.

“The result would be devastating,” Kendall said. “Weather forecasts would be only half as accurate. Without this satellite, hurricane forecasters would not have been able to give Americans on the Eastern seaboard an accurate warning about Sandy.”

In the aftermath of Sandy, governors from states hard hit by the storm, including Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, praised the federal government’s response to far. And he touted FEMA’s role in the state’s recovery.

“I expect FEMA to be a major force here over the next couple of months. And that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about months,” Christie said during a Tuesday morning briefing.

It’s not clear just what Romney’s approach to major disasters would be. The Romney campaign stressed Monday, after the devastating storm hit the East Coast, that there is a place for agencies like FEMA, although he has called for the agency’s privatization just months ago.

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement Monday. Romney declined to answer at least five questions from reporters in Ohio about what he would do with FEMA. But if Ryan’s budget is any indication of Romney’s plans, FEMA and other agencies that play major roles in predicting and responding to storms could see cuts.

That’s a drastic change from the June debate, when a moderator pressed Romney on disaster relief. “We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” Romney responded. “It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.”

Whether it’s immoral to leave disaster victims and their children to fend for themselves, with zero federal dollars to help them rebuild their lives, is apparently a difference of partisan opinions.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Brandt Hardin November 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Is there any doubt a Romney administration would favor the rich and increase the income gap in our country? Mitt is a pariah in Mormon Clothing and will stop at nothing to expand an empire of greed for the rich in this country by expanding tax cuts for the 1% of the wealthiest Americans. He’s out to gut the Middle Class for every red cent he can get. Will his sacred Mormon underwear grant him the protection and money to buy this election? See for yourself as Mitt dons his tighty-whities sent down from the Good Lord Himself at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/05/mitt-romneys-magic-mormon-underwear.html

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avatar JEC November 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Imagine for a moment a “privatized” FEMA. For Profit Disaster Services; maybe China would invest and services could be provided for nothing more than a lien on our communities for those unable to pay on delivery. But it’s the “immoral” reference to helping others that speaks volumes about his Mormon faith.

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avatar h richards November 9, 2012 at 4:12 am

Why would anybody on the Coast vote for Issa? Folks, the sea is rising–there are bluffs– yet it looks like once again, beach dwellers vote for this pre Tea Party Tea Partyer, backed by Koch Brothers. He doesn’t favor public transportation or the Post Office either, let alone his odd vote on FEMA. Didn’t he see how Bush the 2nd sank like a rock after Katrina? Why do we keep sending him back to Congress?

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