By Julia Hahn, Columnist
Hurricane Irene has caused the need for relief to be given to a significant amount of people and places that have been badly affected by the storm. However, House Republicans are insisting that Congress cut spending to relief funds before helping.
Given the current state of our economy, are Republicans being smart or simply cold-hearted? Their reputation precedes them in the fact that they seem to always turn the other cheek when it comes to spending money on people who are actually in need of it, such as welfare. Perhaps the way our government was dealing with these crises before was a contributing factor to our economic state. At this point in time it's too early to know for certain how much the relief efforts will cost, but the amount is expected to be pretty hefty – even running into the billions.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says that Congress will be providing for those individuals in need, but the aid money that is given to them will have to be balanced out by making spending cuts in other areas. This money saving process is making a dispute erupt between the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill with Democrats exclaiming that delaying relief for disaster victims to figure out a budget is "unconscionable." They argue that this is not the way our government has dealt with things in the past and they are right. Will we have to make the choice between giving some things up or creating more debt for our own country?
This decision will no doubt effect those up Capitol Hill as they decide which programs deserve cuts and which don't, but it seems to be that the GOP party is simply playing favorites as to which programs they will be. It is a fact that programs will need to be balanced out but if the Republicans had their way it would only be funds that agree with their politics. As a country we have passed the point where picking and choosing can happen when it comes to our debt; budget cuts need to be made across the board in all areas. The economic crisis we are in calls for a change in Washington, so the preferences each party has cannot continue.
I applaud the conservatives for taking a stand, and a controversial one at that. The Democratic Party needs to react in a similar fashion, and not complain about what programs the Republicans are cutting.
The fighting on Capitol Hill needs to turn into reconciling; that way our government can spend more time solving the economic crisis instead of making it worse.