Washington politics once again threatens funding; this time for disaster assistance. But Nebraska’s senators believe emergency aid will pass, eventually.
Sen. Johanns claims a $7 billion disaster relief bill approved by the Senate last week was purely political.
“Everybody knows this bill won’t become law. It just is not going to happen,” according to Johanns.
Johanns insists that the bill approved by the Senate last week is aimed at the 2012 elections, not 2011 disasters. He claims Democrats wanted to force Republicans into a vote that would appear unsympathetic to disaster victims.
Congress needs to act, because the Federal Emergency Management Agency is running out of money. Natural disasters have struck the country hard, whether from the deadly Joplin, MO tornado or the summer-long flooding along the Missouri River in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas or the devastation of Hurricane Irene on the East Coast.
Both Sen. Johanns, a Republican, and Sen. Nelson, a Democrat, brush aside suggestions that politics on Capitol Hill could imperil aid to those attempting to recover from disaster.
Still, the Senate bill stands at $7 billion and has received a cold reception in the House, at best. The House is set to consider its own measure Wednesday, a much smaller measure. House leaders have suggested providing FEMA $1 billion now and $2.65 billion later. House Republicans also have asked for cuts to the federal budget to offset the cost of disaster aid, something Democrats in the Senate have rejected.
Nelson says, eventually, emergency aid will be approved by Congress.
“But I do believe that we’re all in this together as a country and we shouldn’t single out one area to get help at the expense of everybody else,” according to Nelson.
Congress faces another deadline. The federal fiscal year ends next Friday, September 30th.