While Holding Disaster Aid Hostage, Cantor Lobbied FEMA To Quickly Help His Own District
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) made himself into a symbol of the Republican fixation on budget cutting at any cost when he insisted that additional funding to help Hurricane Irene victims be offset with cuts elsewhere. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budget has been drained after a string of natural disasters, and the agency thought it needed more money to help disaster victims. But Republicans, led by Cantor, threatened to shut down the government rather than approve additional funds without offsets.
But evidently Cantor realized that this aid was important to his constituents. On Monday, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that while holding the agency’s funding hostage, Cantor was simultaneously lobbying it to aid his own district in Virginia:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-7th, is pushing for information on the status of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s request for federal disaster assistance for Louisa County residents in the wake of an earthquake there last month.
On Friday, Cantor held a conference call with Federal Emergency Management Agency and Louisa County officials. A readout of the call provided by Cantor’s office indicates that he asked FEMA officials about the timeline and process for determining whether the agency would grant federal assistance.
“FEMA said they have received the Governor’s request and sent it to the White House for a decision but could not provide any specific information on timing,” the readout said.
Democrats were quick to note the supreme hypocrisy of Cantor pressing FEMA to quickly aid the residents of his district while he was preventing the agency from receiving more funding.