Even though 44 Kansas counties have received disaster status from the governor’s office, weather-related damages to crops, buildings and infrastructure during the past month have been relatively minor.
Many a farmer is dealing with wheat rust or being delayed from new plantings, while some entire towns such as Lucas are repairing hail damage. But compared to states such as Texas, the wet spring thus far has been welcomed with open arms in Kansas.
In Texas, residents simply are looking for relief. The severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that battered the Lone Star throughout May took their toll. The barrage of storms killed at least 21 people, others remain missing, and the repairs and replacements already begun will be an enormous economic undertaking.
So the state likely is grateful federal disaster aid already has been made available through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and presidential candidate, said he supports “the federal government fulfilling its statutory obligations, and stepping in to respond to this natural disaster.”
According to a FEMA press release, the assistance “can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.” Also covered will be local, state and tribal governments to do emergency work, repair or replace facilities, and institute hazard mitigation measures statewide in hopes of lessening such damage in the future.
That Cruz favors such a federal response is understandable. Mother Nature’s full fury can devastate an entire region’s economy, much like Hurricane Sandy did to the northeastern U.S. in 2012. That superstorm not only killed more than 130, it caused tens of billions of dollars in damage. Federal assistance paid for the majority, although not with Cruz’s support. He had a different opinion back then.
Cruz explained his “nay” vote cast against the assistance by saying the funding bill was “symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington — an addiction to spending money we do not have. The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt.”
At the time, we thought such sentiment rather cold-hearted and short-sighted. Victims of Sandy waited a minimum of three months while Congress fiddled with the bill. Granted, a lot of pork was pulled out of the House version of the bill — but that took place before the Senate ever voted on the package.
For a Texas senator to tell those on the East Coast they didn’t need or deserve federal assistance because it added to the national debt, then demand it for his own state when the debt has gotten even larger, is nothing short of hypocrisy.
Unfortunately, such myopic tendencies are the norm for many in the tea party movement. We should be grateful there are professionals working for FEMA and other emergency assistance organizations who do their job without regard for politics. And also that a majority of those elected to Congress understand nature’s non-discriminatory way of throwing disasters across the nation.
Sen. Ted Cruz displayed more than gall with his demands for immediate assistance in his home state after rejecting it for others. Cruz revealed parochial character incompatible with that required to be president of the greatest nation on earth.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry