Opinion

Republicans sacrificing federal disaster relief

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois

Published September 18, 2011
In a year marked by a record number of natural disasters, it’s shocking that House and Senate Republicans think they can get away with playing politics with disaster relief.
Recently, they have even threatened to hold federal disaster relief hostage unless further spending cuts were made elsewhere in the budget.
Just a few days ago, Senate Republicans delayed the Senate from debating — from simply debating — a bill to provide disaster relief funding to devastated communities across the nation by staging yet another all-too-common filibuster.
Republicans have been all too willing to run up unprecedentedly high bills for millionaires’ tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but when it comes to actually protecting Americans at home, they throw up all sorts of roadblocks.
We can’t let them get away with this — and I need your help.
Over the past several months, we’ve seen an unusually high number of destructive floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and now, wildfires.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been on the ground to save lives and assist victims in many of these situations.
But now, FEMA’s funds are running dangerously low, forcing the agency to divert money from earlier relief efforts — such as the rebuilding of Midwestern towns
struck by deadly tornadoes — to respond to Hurricane Irene’s aftermath.
In fact, it’s now unclear whether or not FEMA even has enough funds to help us recover from the severe storms and floods that hit both northern and southern Illinois and an unparalleled blizzard that hit Chicagoland earlier this year. While House Republicans play politics with disaster relief funding, the fates of communities around the state hang in the balance.
That’s just senseless — and we in Congress must act swiftly to ensure FEMA can respond appropriately when the next disaster hits.
When disaster strikes, victims need immediate attention. Waiting for help while Republicans pick budget fights makes no sense.
Thank you for your help,
Sincerely,Dick Durbin
U.S. Senator

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Small Town
When you do not stand up
when government and power
retaliate to shut you up,
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never speaking up,
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You are attacked because
the person before you cowered.
The next is attacked because of you.
So on your feet!
Do not whisper,
do not hide pretending
you do not see,
speak out, loud, here, now,
like you live in America,
before it’s gone.
Joanie Liesenfelt
October 3, 2013
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