The lead paragraph may be that Erik Paulsen (R-MN-03) and 178 Republicans voted against a bill that would provide $50.5 billion in emergency relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy … but that was just the final vote for H.R. 152 – Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013.
Representative Paulsen’s spokesman Philip Minardi offered political spin sure to appeal to “independent” voters while projecting Representative Paulsen as “Washington’s Math Guy with a simple solution ‘Spend Less”’ :
“Rep. Paulsen believes that we must help those affected by Hurricane Sandy as quickly as possible, and voted for a $9.7 billion increase to pay federal flood insurance claims and $19 billion in emergency disaster assistance for those who are suffering from the storm’s destruction.”
Yet, it wasn’t that final vote that tells us a little bit about Representative Paulsen’s “simple solution to ‘Spend Less”’ … it was instead Roll Call 14:
“Provides an offset of the $17 billion in emergency funding to address the immediate needs of victims and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. The offset is achieved by an across the board cut of 1.63 percent to all discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2013.”
OK … so the Math Guy “simple solution ‘Spend Less”’ means lopping off 1.63% of all discretionary spending … yep … a “simple solution” … don’t use a scalpel aimed at trimming fat instead just take a hatchet to the budget.
That may be simple … but not smart.
Consider one program that would feel the impact of the hatchet :
Childhood Immunization Program allocated by formula to States to purchase vaccines for pertussis (Tdap), measles and mumps (MMR), influenza and Hepatitis B for uninsured children.
Sure the Childhood Immunization Program would not be eliminated … it just means that some children will not get the vaccines … with the daily stories of influenza spreading across the country, surely a few more patients will not be noticed … besides, uninsured children will get treated (at a higher financial cost … not a smart move for Washington’s Math Guy)
Another program that would be impacted is the Public Health Emergency grants which are allocated to States by formula to upgrade their ability to respond to a range of public health threats, including infectious diseases and natural disasters — yep, the Flu and the next Sandy.
It’s so many programs … impacting all areas of federal spending …
The Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening program
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The Family Violence and Prevention Services program
The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant
Senior nutrition programs
Veterans Employment and Training
The Maternal and Child Health Block Grant
And many more that have previously been listed that would be impacted by the March 1st sequestration.
Interesting that Representative Paulsen is willing to reduce discretionary appropriations … but non-discretionary appropriations are not discussed … well except for Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies that the United States will always be Israel’s friend but that “it will be harder and harder to be a friend if we are out of money.”
Israel receives about $3 billion taxpayer money annually authorized by Congress and Senator Paul is calling for end to foreign assistance.
While Senator Paul goes to Israel to tell them they could be impacted by America’s fiscal problems and Representative Paulsen has taken multiple paid-trips to Israel, no one mentions that Israel Flying Aid and Israeli Humanitarian Aid-Latet provided rescue workers and delivered fuel and generators in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Joel Leyden, an Isreali, said “Just because people are not seeing pictures of destroyed homes anymore, does not mean there isn’t a critical situation going on in Long Island and Staten Island. We’re talking about devastation close to a nuclear bomb having gone off, with hundreds of homes completely leveled and thousands of people without electricity, without food, without water, without shelter. It hasn’t changed since the storm hit.”
It makes you wonder when the day will come that Israeli television will have commercials like those paid for by the Christian Children’s Fund on American televisions … you know … you can save a child in the United States for “the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can provide a child like Sam, the vaccines for pertussis, measles and mumps influenza and Hepatitis B.”
… maybe that’s Representative Paulsen, the Math Guy’s, plan … heck, when Sandy’s devastation is “close to a nuclear bomb having gone off” … who could resist paying for little Sam’s vaccines.
IMO, this might be Representative Paulsen worst vote since his vote against HR 11, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 … but very telling about his character.