Think Progress points out today that of the 36 GOP senators who opposed the long-delayed aid to the parts of the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy, 31 had lobbied for disaster aid to their own states in the past. Among them, Missouri’s Roy Blunt. In fact, according to Think Progress‘ Josh Israel, Blunt:
… demanded the Senate be called back from recess to pass disaster aid during a drought and boasts: “When a disaster surpasses the ability of states and communities to rebuild, Senator Blunt believes the federal government should prioritize spending to help the people whose lives and livelihoods are impacted. During his time in the Senate, he has fought tirelessly to ensure that Missouri gets its fair share of those federal resources specifically dedicated to disaster recovery.”
It’s worth noting that Blunt joins Sam Graves (R-6) in the state’s GOP hyprocrites hall of fame with this vote. Graves who “begged” for flood relief for his constituents, also voted against Hurricane Sandy relief.
Israel also notes:
While opponents complained that the bill contained too much unrelated “pork,” each of the 30 of them who had been present earlier this month when the Senate passed the much-smaller $9 billion Sandy relief bill also voted no. All five top members of the Senate Republican leadership voted no on both.
Let’s see, Senate republican leadership, eh? That would include Blunt, the Republican Conference Vice Chair. I wonder if any of Blunt’s big donors had been in line to realize some advantage from the so-called “pork” in the Hurricane Sandy bill (mostly infrastructure rebuilding initiatives that would prepare the East Coast for future Sandy-like storm surges) he might have reconsidered his vote?
Addendum: Steve Benen sums the GOP stance up nicely:
What we’re seeing, in other words, is a fundamental shift in how GOP policymakers respond to communities struggling after a natural disaster.
For generations, these votes were not politicized or considered particularly controversial — Americans could count on their elected representatives to step up if a natural disaster struck. It wasn’t partisan and it wasn’t ideological; this is just what the country did. It was a reflection of who we are.
And those days are over. As the Sandy votes demonstrate, it is now effectively the standard position of congressional Republicans to reject disaster relief unless the funding is offset by other spending cuts. So long, compassionate conservatism, we hardly knew you.
In other words, yell deficit and while folks are distracted by the fiscal dust they’re attempting to throw in our faces, leave vulnerable Americans to shift for themselves. Goes right along with privatizing Social Security, gutting Medicare and Medicaid.