This coming Tuesday, Congress is expected to vote on a $51 billion supplemental aid package that will provide desperately needed help to the areas and victims affected by Hurricane Sandy. Such measures ordinarily face little resistance. More than $100 billion was appropriated for Katrina victims, including $62 billion allocated only two weeks after the storm hit in 2005. But at a time when there is so much talk about U.S. debt and cuts to spending, much to the dismay of those whose lives have been upended by this disaster, some conservative groups and elected officials have expressed opposition to the measure.
In a “legislative alert,” Agudath Israel of America urged its members and followers throughout the country to pick up the phone and convey a clear message to their representatives in Congress, whether Democratic or Republican, as follows:
“The toll Hurricane Sandy has taken on the lives and well-being of our fellow Americans is devastating and the work of rebuilding is daunting. Congress has a responsibility to craft a bill that both Democrats and Republicans can agree on, that can be passed by both House and Senate, and that can be signed by the President as expeditiously as possible. This is no time for partisanship or for insistence upon provisions or amendments that will slow down passage. All this must be put aside because the needs and suffering of the victims are paramount and urgent.”
We strongly agree. While much work needs to be done to cut down on government waste, this is certainly not the place to seek funding cuts. The victims of Hurricane Sandy have endured months of suffering and many are still without a permanent home. The least the government can do is come to their assistance.