House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri’s tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.
“If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.
Now, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the East Coast, and seven states have declared a state of emergency so they can take advantage of federal assistance should things go badly. The states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have all made their declarations.
The Joplin incident with Cantor was a particularly cynical act of partisanship. Will Cantor do the same here? Unlikely. Missouri has a Democrat for a governor, and Cantor saw no danger in playing politics there. But in this case, he would have to answer to Republicans like NJ governor Chris Christie. Christie is already a favorite of the Republican establishment, and Cantor will not go head to head with him.
Still, someone should ask Cantor if he feels the same about Hurricane Irene as he did with Joplin.