Was it Long Island's Peter King who said that disaster aid didn't used to be a political issue? Probably. But Katrina stands there, still in tatters, saying, "You kiddin' me?"
From 1994 on, I don't think there's been a single action or inaction on the Republican side that hasn't been about votes (political) or race (political) or immigration status (political) or 2014/2016 ... you know. Basically, if it doesn't benefit Republicans, it's of no interest Republicans. So yes, disasters must now pass through the Republican's me-first political filter.
That's Republicans as a group. Individually, a Republican will tell you that of course s/he is deeply concerned but... And then the issue dies and you're left with a quote from the Bible or Ronald Reagan.
That's with the exception of Chris Christie. During the past month or so, the Republican governor of New Jersey has been showing that he knows the meaning of "mindfulness." He notices other people! He notices other people's needs! He evinces actual personal concern for other people's needs!
Elected officials from the New York area erupted with outrage on Wednesday after the House refused to take up a federal aid package for states that suffered damages from Hurricane Sandy, and even local Republicans blasted their Congressional leaders for their inaction. ...Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a Republican, furiously accused the Congressional leadership of his own party of “duplicity” and “selfishness,” and called the decision not to hold a vote on the storm-relief measure “irresponsible.” He said the legislation had fallen victim to “palace intrigue,” and “it’s why the American people hate Congress.” ...NYT
So it may have seemed that Boehner had pretty much done his duty by 2 am January 2 -- and didn't deserve anymore punishment. But no. It wasn't Ohio getting flooded so, well, what the hay. He ignored the needs of the people of New York and New Jersey.
Say, how about that vicious tornado in Joplin, Missouri, a red state, a little while back?
The tornado that tore through Joplin a year ago ranks as the deadliest twister in six decades. Now it carries another distinction — the costliest since at least 1950.
Insurance policies are expected to cover most of the $2.8 billion in damage. But taxpayers could supply about $500 million in the form of federal and state disaster aid, low-interest loans and local bonds backed by higher taxes, according to records obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with federal, state and local officials.
Almost one-fifth of that money was paid to contractors who hauled off debris. Tens of millions more dollars went to individuals for temporary housing and other living expenses in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Additional money could help subsidize construction of a new hospital to replace one that was irreparably damaged.
All told, about two dozen school districts, emergency agencies, public housing authorities, religious groups and other nonprofits could receive taxpayer money through a program run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The assistance is nowhere near the scale of Hurricane Katrina, which swamped New Orleans and damaged property along a wide swath of the Gulf Coast in 2005. Yet the Joplin tornado raises questions anew about the government's role in disasters.
"There are just thousands of people who would not have recovered at all had that aid not been there. I mean there's no way," said Danielle Robertson, whose mother died in the twister. She finally moved into a rebuilt rental home about three weeks ago. "I like to consider myself a survivalist, but there was nothing to survive with."
The Joplin tornado, which killed 161 people, was one of 99 major disasters declared by President Barack Obama in 2011. Other included blizzards, wildfires and hurricanes. Congress responded in December by authorizing an extra $8.6 billion in disaster aid. ...Denver Post 5/12