House Republican Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) threatened to block disaster relief for the victims of the Joplin tornado and other disasters unless funding for another program was cut.
The House Appropriations followed Cantor’s orders and cut a green energy program.
Disaster funding bill gives Republicans opportunity to cut green energy
In Joplin, MO over 122 persons are confirmed dead, 700 are injured, and 1,500 are still missing. A huge portion of the city including its hospital is destroyed. Tornados have devastated Alabama, Mississippi, and other cities in recent weeks. Yet, the Republicans in Congress used that issue to kill a green energy bill. House Republican Leader Cantor (R-VA) would not allow the $1 billion dollar relief bill to advance unless something else was cut.
When Cantor held up the disaster funds, the House appropriations Committee acted quickly to kill a green energy bill which oil company lobbyists opposed. It is unprecedented to use disaster relief money as a bargaining chit.
Previous Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) approved disaster relief bills several times to aid victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita without demanding immediate offsets. Cantor and the Republicans used this opportunity to cut a green energy program that the oil industry opposes.
Missouri Congressman says political maneuvers with relief is just wrong
Rep Russ Caranahan (D-MO) said “…if a we need to debate whether we cut oil subsidies or green energy to pay for disaster relief, let’s have that debate, but to put this on the backs of people of Joplin is just plain wrong.” He went on to say “the people who have lost everything need to know relief is coming.”
Appropriations Committee kills loan program to develop fuel efficient vehicles
The House Appropriations Committee acted quickly to cut a $1.5 billion dollar program to provide loans to develop fuel efficient vehicles. This would offset the $1 billion dollar cost for disaster relief blocked by Cantor. This fuel efficient vehicle bill is a program Republicans have wanted to cut all along, but could not muster bi-partisan support. The disaster bill gave them an opportunity to further advance their big oil agenda and kill the program because Democrats could not block the disaster relief bill.
The disaster relief money was held hostage. The bill is expected to pass later this week and move to the Senate.
Democrats proposed that the money to fund the disaster should come from cutting the $4 billion dollar a year subsidies to big oil companies who are making record profits. The Republicans went the opposite direction. Rather than cut the oil subsidies, they gave further concessions to the oil companies by cutting the program to make vehicles more fuel efficient. If vehicles use less gasoline, oil companies make smaller profits. The GOP can not allow that to happen.
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