Just a month after a string of terrible tornadoes hit northern Alabama, the northwestern corner of Georgia and several other states across the South, all eyes were on Joplin, Mo., this past week after the deadliest single tornado to hit the U.S. in 60 years.
President Barack Obama, back from a trip to Europe, visited Joplin Sunday and pledged the federal government’s help in the city’s rebuilding. Congress is also on board with helping the city, but with a twist.
Appearing on “Face the Nation” Sunday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Congress would come through with funding for Joplin, but that House Republicans planned to offset the spending with cuts elsewhere in the budget. From CBS News:
“I know that America is just stunned by the scope of devastation and loss and the horrific tragedy that the people of Joplin and other places across the country really are experiencing this tornado season,” Cantor said.
But, he added, comparing the federal government to a family on a tight budget, the government would have to make cuts somewhere else to compensate for the expenditures.
“When a family is struck with tragedy — like the family of Joplin … let’s say if they had $10,000 set aside to do something else with, to buy a new car … and then they were struck with a sick member of the family or something, and needed to take that money to apply it to that, that’s what they would do, because families don’t have unlimited money.
“Neither does the federal government” have endless resources, he continued.
Should Congress offset disaster relief with other spending cuts?
Total Voters: 194
In practice, money is money and spending is spending — the purpose for a particular expenditure doesn’t change the laws of mathematics. But because Congress isn’t used to balancing its budget, Americans aren’t used to hearing members of Congress talking about offsetting any kind of spending, and certainly not disaster relief.
So, your question for this Monday morning: Is it appropriate for Congress to offset disaster spending with cuts elsewhere? Answer in the poll to the left and in the comments thread.
– By Kyle Wingfield