Nowadays, Eric Cantor, channeling an insurance actuary, says disaster-relief funding needs to be offset by cuts elsewhere -- be it for tornado cleanup in devastated Joplin, MO, or damage from Hurricane Irene and the recent earthquake centered in his own district. He told constituents as much the day after the earthquake.
This morning, we clipped a piece in The Hill, which quotes a statement from the Virginia Republican in 2004 requesting federal funds following Tropical Storm Gaston -- without calling for cuts elsewhere.
Now, Sam Stein at Huffington Post points out that, in 2004, Cantor actually voted against a bill that would have done exactly what he's now calling for:
"[A] bemused Democratic source notes that in October 2004, Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have "fully offset" the cost of that supplemental with "a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding" elsewhere. Funding for defense, homeland security, and veterans was exempted from the proposed cuts. But the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), would do precisely what Republican leadership is proposing to do now."
Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring chalks it up to the ballooning national debt for the apparent change of heart. Dayspring tells Stein:
"[T]he national debt at the time was under $8 trillion and was $8.67 trillion when Nancy Pelosi became Speaker, Today the debt stands at $14.625, meaning that while Democrats controlled the purse string, the national debt literally exploded. We are living in different times."
Different times, indeed.