Thursday, February 28, 2013

Idiot Congressman Says It's Not The Job of the Federal Government To Deal With Natural Disasters

MSNBC's Martin Bashir invited Republican congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) to discuss the looming sequester. Towards the end of the interview, Bashir questioned Huelskamp on why he (of course) voted against the Hurricane Sandy relief package. The congressman said among the reasons he voted against the bill was because it wasn't offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. That led to this noteworthy exchange (skip to 10:56):


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Bashir: But sir, Hurricane Sandy was a once in a life time event. That's what the federal government exists to respond, a once in a life time event.

Huelskamp: That's nowhere in the constitution. The federal government exists for national defense.
Now, it's just my opinion, but I would think that one could make an argument that the federal government could say, defend us against natural disasters without running into any conflicts with the consitution. But whatever, let's try and go at it from another angle and see what the constitution actually says:
to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;
Okay, I know conservatives don't think that things like universal healthcare fall under the umbrella of "general welfare", but disaster relief too? Seriously? If the federal government has no role in disaster management, then it seems no one told that socialist Thomas Jefferson:

For more than two centuries, U.S. lawmakers have recognized the need for a federal government that helps its citizens in times of disaster. The most significant and earliest instance of such federal involvement occurred in 1803. That was the year when a series of fires swept through the port city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

In response to the disaster, Congress passed legislation that provided relief for Portsmouth merchants. More importantly, the Congressional Act of 1803 contained the first piece of national disaster legislation ever to be passed by a United States Congress.

Furthermore, Huelskamp says that even something like a major hurricane isn't reason enough to "borrow money from our children and grandchildren".  Once again, thanks for voting for these dimwits in 2010, America.

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