The death toll of the Joplin tornado has risen to 122. It was the deadliest tornado that the country has endured in 60 years, and thousands of people are homeless. It's a complete mess, and it will no doubt cost tens of millions of dollars to get the town of 50,000 back to normal.
President Obama, who was out of the country at the time of the disaster, told victims, "The American people are by your side." And, "We're going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every
neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet." But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says it's time for penny-pinching!
Before Uncle Sam starts handing out recovery cash, Cantor (R-VA) wants everybody to know that the emergency
money will have to be offset by other federal spending. Wait, are we
really concerned about saving a little money as crews are searching
rubble for survivors and bodies?
Politico reports Cantor said, "If there is support for a
supplemental, it would be accompanied by
support for having pay-fors to that supplemental." Apparently going into debt to save a city isn't worth it.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who represented Joplin during his time in the U.S. House,
had a pretty simple message for Cantor Tuesday afternoon. Politico writes that he released a statement saying, "We need to prioritize
spending, and this needs to be a priority." Well, duh!
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was less reserved in her statement on Cantor's plan. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports she said,"With all due respect to Congressman Cantor, I have a hard time
believing that if this were in his congressional district, he would
be talking about how additional disaster relief would not be
available unless we found some other programs to take it from. It must be available. This must not be a political football. We
must provide the assistance. That's what federal tax dollars are
for, is to provide assistance when there is no assistance available
to communities and states because of the wrath of Mother Nature."