Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Middle Tennessee's own Jim Cooper votes with Republicans, against hurricane victims

Nashville's Jim Cooper turns away from Rockaway (NYC)
So, Congress's response to the disaster along the east coast caused by Hurricane Sandy has been late and limping, very much unlike their response to Middle Tennessee in 2010 after our "1,000 year" flood. I fully expected most of the Republicans and maybe a few lunkhead Democrats to kick some recovering northeasterners while they are down.

But take a look at the identity of the only Democrat to vote against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy:

A very big thing happened last night in the House of Representatives. For the second time this month, Boehner broke the Hastert Rule. The issue was Hurricane Sandy relief, a follow-up vote to a smaller package approved earlier this month. It passed, but the important thing is how it passed:

Yeas: 241 (192 Democrats, 49 Republicans)
Nays: 180 (Rep. Jim Cooper + 179 Republicans)

For his part, Congressman Cooper issued a press release:

Congress should make at least some effort to pay for a portion of disaster relief. I voted for federal aid for Nashville flood recovery in 2010, and that bill was partially paid for. So were the Hurricane Katrina bills I supported. And Hurricane Rita, and Hurricane Wilma, and Hurricane Ivan, and Hurricane Isabel. Why can’t we find even partial offsets for Sandy?

Yesterday’s votes came during a national budget crisis while America is officially out of money.

Jim Cooper is so set on "fixing" Congress and the national debt that he is willing to cast a symbolic vote against the welfare of one-time disaster victims. Okay. So, he got to send his message of fiscal responsibility and dealing with deficits one more time. How is that supposed to help someone whose life has been arbitrarily destroyed by a historic hurricane? Seriously. He cannot make any exceptions in extreme cases to his pay-as-you-go rule?

A couple of years ago, Mr. Cooper went ballistic when the Army Corps of Engineers chose not to produce a report on Nashville's 2010 flooding due to budget considerations. In another press release he said:

This is completely unacceptable. I am stunned the Corps doesn't feel it is necessary to investigate their response to a multi-billion dollar disaster.  The people of Middle Tennessee deserve answers.

This shows a serious lack of accountability and leadership at the Corps.

So, when the Corps makes a decision not to spend money on the Nashville flood follow-up due to budget considerations, it is "unacceptable".  However, Mr. Cooper voting not to support federal aid for stricken eastern seaboard communities based on budget considerations is acceptable. Using budget considerations as a strict rule obviously cuts both ways.

The precedent for federal aid to disaster victims, as he points out, has already been set. Using the budget crisis as an excuse for neglect of nature's latest victims looks like he is treating them as a means to serve his own ends in Washington. Heaven forbid Jim Cooper let human suffering stand in the way of his Blue Dog Beltway axioms.

1 comment:

  1. Callous. I can't think of any other way to describe this. First read it on politicalwire and thought it must be wrong.

    In 2010 he won by 15 points (99,000 votes to 74,000 votes). This year he won by 32 points (167,000 votes to 84,000 votes).

    Is he really afraid he wont win the next cycle?