Playing politics with humanitarian aid

"You saw the House act," snapped Rep. Eric Cantor. Yeah, act like a petulant four-year-old!

“You saw the House act,” snapped Rep. Eric Cantor. Yeah, act like a petulant four-year-old!

The GOP’s House majority leader has long been a whiney ideological brat who stamps his tiny feet in peevish anger whenever he can’t get his way on legislation. This time he was sabotaging federal aid for thousands of Americans devastated by natural disasters.

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“Federal aid” is a four-letter word to right-wing ideologues like Eric, so for weeks he stalled the emergency funding, turning a straightforward humanitarian bill into his political football, insisting that any funding increase must first be wholly paid for by cutting spending on other public needs. Deficit purity first, people’s needs last!

Actually, his this-for-that demand could’ve easily been met if he’d agreed to cut things America definitely does not need, such as the $4-billion-a-year subsidy for Big Oil. But – whoa! – in Cantorworld, oil giants are gods that shower manna from heaven on Republican campaigns, so it’s blasphemy even to think of cutting that money.

Instead, Cantor went after Big Oil’s most-dreaded nemesis: companies making fuel-efficient and clean energy vehicles. Thus, the Cantorites decreed that there’d be no more disaster relief until the federal loan program to foster development of this job-creating, green industry was slashed by $1.5 billion. This would have been a political hat trick for the GOP extremists – striking a blow for anti-government absolutism, doing a favor for a major campaign funder, and defunding an Obama-backed program that helps him with voters.

Luckily, his nuttiness was so extreme that a bipartisan vote by 79 senators killed his political scheme – this time. You’d think that aid for storm victims would be beyond politics. But nothing is too far out for right-wing cultists like Cantor.

“Revolt! GOP Plan to Kill Jobs Defeated,” www.thinkprogress.org, September 21, 2011.

“Senate rejects bill to pay for disaster aid.” Austin American Statesman,” September 24, 2011.

“Congress ends dispute over disaster aid, avoids shutdown,” Austin American Statesman, September 27, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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