BY JOHN FEEHERY
Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com
What happened in Moore, Oklahoma was terrible, just terrible. What will likely happen in Washington as a response will be just as bad, in its own way.
The tornado that tore through the Oklahoma City suburb devastated that little community, killed small children, destroyed a school, and otherwise reaked havoc on a bunch of Americans.
We have seen this before.
Tornadoes have ravaged small towns in Missouri and Alabama, and a hurricane destroyed a large swath of New Jersey and devastated a New York suburb.
When the emergency spending bill that the Senate passed to help the folks in Jersey and Staten Island went to the House, conservative Republicans, some of whom were from Oklahoma, complained loudly that it spent too much and was chockfull of pork. They complained so loudly, that House Speaker John Boehner was forced to postpone a vote topass the emergency money quickly, and the subsequent delay in federal assistance drove Northeastern Republicans like Peter King and Chris Christie absolutely bonkers.
I didn’t blame them. When your constituents desperately need help, your instinct is to do everything you can for them, and when your colleagues from another region refuse to help, well, it can cause you to lose your mind.
Now, we have the situation on Moore, Oklahoma, and as the saying goes, payback can be a bitch.
These same politicians who said that we should slow up federal assistance will be the first to say that we need to speed it up, and those who desperately wanted assistance in New York and New Jersey would be well within their rights to say, hold on here and let’s see where this money is going.
This is not good government. It is not fair. And it is a stupid way to budget.
We shouldn’t have to do an emergency spending supplemental for every weather emergency, leaving it to the whims of the political class to figure how who gets what, when and where.
We should set up a rainy day fund for those days when the rain really comes, along with wind, or fire or when the earth shakes.
That should be part of our federal budget. We should plan for it.
We should look at how much we have spent on these kinds of disasters over the last ten years, average it out and then put it in the budget as an expense.
And when a disaster hits, we should use that money, free of the partisanship of Congress.
It would be a good reform for Congress, because they wouldn’t embarrass itself time after time with its partisan shenanigans.
It would be good for the budget because we would learn to spend less money on other things and put more money to pay for disasters.
It would be good for first responders, because they would know that they had the resources to take care of people first.
It would be good for the country, because everybody would know that we are all in this together, not broken down by regional distrust.
Natural disasters happen. They happen every year and they have happened every year for a very long time.
We should be better prepared to help people when these disasters happen, and we shouldn’t have to rely on politicians to rise to the occasion. They rarely rise to occasion.
Editor’s Note: John Feehery worked for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republicans in Congress. Feehery is president of Quinn Gillespie Communications. He is a contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog and blogs at thefeeherytheory.com.