The Ed Show | January 29, 2013
>>> and in the big finish tonight, you know, when disaster strikes, we count on our elected officials to get us help so we can get back on our feet. as americans , that's what we do. in the past, providing federal relief for victims of a natural disaster didn't cause any controversy whatsoever. it was just something that we did as a country. we did to help our fellow americans . it was routine. it's something senator roy blunt talked about after the deadliest tornado in over 60 years struck the town of joplin, missouri, his home state of missouri .
>> well, you know, abraham lincoln when he described this new political party that he was part of said that this was a party that believed that people should -- that government should do for people what people cannot do for themselves. and that involves things like defending the country. but it also involves things like responding to a disaster.
>> yet, three months after one of the biggest storms ever to hit the united states , the republican party is now playing politics with disaster aid. and this latest senate vote pretty much proves it, folks. yesterday the senate approved just over $50 billion in disaster aid for victims of hurricane sandy. it was the second part of a larger disaster relief package, and the measure passed, 62-36. should we point out that all 36 no votes came from republicans? republicans roy blunt , the person you just heard from. demanding that the federal government reimburse 100% of the costs for the joplin disaster. republicans say it's all about offsets. here is senator pat toomey of pennsylvania, another no vote, explaining the republican logic.
>> at some point we need to start making choices around here. at some point we can't just have everything. that's how you get trillion deficits. that's how you end up like greece.
>> well, toomey lobbied for hurricane sandy relief money from fema for his constituents before the storm made landfall. senator kelly ayotte and all of new hampshire, another no vote. she appealed for sandy relief fund for her state. john boozman of arkansas requested federal disaster money for storm damage in his state just four days before he voted no on sandy relief. and the hypocrisy continues from there. as think progress reports, at least 31 of the republican no votes previously supported emergency aid efforts in their own states, including senators from coastal states like florida. have they ever had a hurricane? texas, alabama, georgia, and the carolinas. let's bring in joan walsh , editor at large for salon, and author of "what's the matter with white people ?" . great to have you with us tonight, joan.
>> thanks, ed.
>> this, considering the tradition of meshes helping americans , this is certainly out of step with what we normally do. but 80% of senate republicans voted no on disaster relief . i mean, are they just being republicans, or is this the new way we're going to handle natural disasters ?
>> it's a whole new brand of republicanism, as roy blunt himself made clear. you know, he quoted abraham lincoln , that fine republican, and he said it himself at a time that he was seeking funds for his own state. we do the things for one another that we cannot do alone. that's a basic principle, a bipartisan principle of government there is probably no better example, except maybe defense than disaster relief . and so, you know, you did a great job just laying out those amazing hypocrites. i mean, also senate minority leader mitch mcconnell and his friend rand paul, they also sought disaster funding for tornadoes in kentucky. but again voted against this. 31 of 36 had gone to bat for their own states. they believed in it when it happened to them. it's really a measure of exactly what has gone wrong with this party.
>> you know, the republicans say they want offsets. so let's play politics here with them. should democrats demand higher taxes on the wealthy before they agree to giving any disaster relief to a red state ? i mean, if we're going to be that way about it.
>> sure. i mean, absolutely. you know, and i believe we should have a higher tax base and higher tax rates and close loopholes so we can afford to do the things that we desperately need to do. and disaster relief is one of those things.
>> think about this. they want to be mean to the people on the east coast that went through sandy. so the next time this is a tornado down in tennessee, senator corker, or mr. sessions, down in alabama, or pick any senator, mr. grassley, there might be a drought in the state of iowa some time and he might want some disaster relief .
>> maybe we'll just turn to your residents to make sure that we raise your taxes so we can give these offsets, so we can do these disaster relief . i mean, the fabric of the country is being torn by this leadership in the republican party . what is mitch mcconnell thinking?
>> it is.
>> he's got to be facing a primary. as far as mcconnell goes, will we see the gop try to repair itself any time soon?
>> you're right, he is thinking about a primary challenge . that's all any of them care about. they also aren't fond of those two -- those fantastic blue states that were hit by sandy, which they have plenty of republican voters. it is. it's hypocrisy, and it's the new brand of republicanism. and, you know, we will not turn around and do the same thing to them, because that's not what we're like. that's not what democrats do, like it or not.
>> does it fall, joan, right in line with health care ?
>> yes, it does.
>> if you don't get insurance, well, too bad.
>> you die.
>> if you're living somewhere and the weather gets bad and rips your town apart and takes your home away, well, you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. i mean, that's the republican plan right here. all about themselves.
>> it's all about offsets, and it's all about denigrating the role of government, and just saying that we're a people who can't afford to do the things that we have always done for one another. and it's not a popular point of view. they lost big-time this last election cycle. they'll continue to lose.
>> they certainly did. well, disaster relief in the ag world. that is very commonplace with this global warming that we're expecting.
>> so let's pay attention to senator thune from south dakota , grassley from iowa, johannes from nebraska. we'll be watching how they do it in the future. joan walsh .