No Strings Attached

It’s so good to know that here in New York, Rep. Tom Reed has got our back—and I say that with a deeply sarcastic tone.  This guy is unbelievable.  Recently, Governor Cuomo invited the NY Congressional Delegation to meet with him in Albany to discuss the requested disaster relief aid package for victims of Superstorm Sandy.  Reed declined the invitation (in fact he said his staff never saw it, I guess it got lost in the mail).  He did say he would “fight for the aid package.”  There was just one teeny-tiny caveat…the aid package must be accompanied by matching cuts to the federal budget so as not to raise the national debt.

Thanks, Tom, for throwing New Yorkers who have lost absolutely everything under the political bus.  By attaching the equivalent cuts caveat, he is taking New Yorkers who are suffering hostage in order to further his political agenda.  There is a time and place for everything; but when thousands of New Yorkers have had their lives turned upside down and lost their homes and personal possessions, it’s not the time to play politics.  People in the state he represents are suffering, so it’s really not a good time to attach political strings to a relief package.

Reed isn’t the first politician to play politics in the face of a natural disaster.  He learned this trick from the master, Eric Cantor.   When Cantor’s district in Virginia was hit by hurricane Irene in 2004, he withheld support for a disaster relief package unless equivalent cuts were made in the federal budget.  Tom Reed learned to use human suffering to his party’s advantage at the House Majority Leader’s feet.

So, other than tying up disaster relief in political strings, what is Rep. Reed doing for us in Washington?  Well, he recently sponsored legislation to make the song “Taps” the official National Military funeral song.  That’s the song they’ve been playing forever at Military funerals—but Reed sponsored and lobbied his fellow members of Congress and voted for passage of an actual bill to make it official.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “Taps” being played at Military funerals.  It’s a beautiful piece of music, with its melancholy tone.  It’s wholly appropriate for the occasion of honoring our Military members—but we’ve been sending our soldiers to their final rest with Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield’s composition since the Civil War. To my knowledge, Reed has not requested an equivalent song be cut from oh, say, weddings in order to make Taps official.

Reed is also championing a commemorative coin depicting Mark Twain to raise funds for Elmira College.  The 112th Congress is a big fan of commemorative coins.  The minting of a coin is legislation that Reed can reach across the aisle and get behind in a show of goodwill and true bipartisanship.  Again, to my knowledge, Reed has not demanded an equivalent commemorative coin be cut from the federal budget.

New York is seeking $42 billion in federal aid, which includes $9 billion for projects to insure that devastation of this magnitude never happens again.  The storm took the lives of 60 New Yorkers.  Think about that for a minute.  Those people were our brothers and sisters, our neighbors.  They were moms and dads and friends, co-workers.  One of the most important functions of our government is to protect the public and maintain an infrastructure that we can rely on when we are faced with the might of Mother Nature.  It’s not an unreasonable request.

Superstorm Sandy caused approximately $62 billion in damage, the bulk of it in NY and NJ.  We can’t put a price on the loss of our fellow New Yorkers and our fellow Americans in neighboring states.

Tom Reed wants to put New Yorkers at risk by hi-jacking aid for political gain.  Equivalent cuts are all the rage in the Tea Party faction in Washington.  We get this nonsense from a group who can’t agree on a haircut, much less budget cuts.

As a Republican, Reed is a member of the party that denies that climate change is real.  They treat global warming as a shadowy boogey-man that is a figment of the liberal imagination.  The devastation of Superstorm Sandy is a testament to rising ocean levels.  We’re seeing a significant increase in the magnitude and scope of storms.  If we don’t take proactive measures to address the changes in the environment, we’re sure to see even greater numbers of people perish.  We’re all at risk, especially people who live and work in coastal areas.   Tom Reed is holding all of us hostage in the name of deficit reduction.  If Reed does not reverse course and agree to disaster aid and funding for infrastructure improvements in NY with no political strings attached—it’s likely that he’s going to end up with a lot of blood on his hands in the future.

–Stephanie Mann of “It Matters” http://www.steffimann0523.blogspot.co.uk/

About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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1 Response to No Strings Attached

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