By The Vicksburg Post/Vicksburg, Miss.
VICKSBURG, Miss. —
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo of Mississippi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada got a lesson in mixing politics with natural disaster aid as the debate over a $60 billion Superstorm Sandy relief package raged in Washington.
Palazzo, a Republican, received widespread criticism after voting against a package that would increase funding for the National Flood Insurance Program, something he pushed for his constituents following Hurricane Katrina.
Reid, a Democrat, now says he misspoke when he said damage caused by Katrina was “nothing in comparison” to that of Sandy, spurring howls from Gulf Coast lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Sandy victims continued to pick up the pieces of their lives and wait for federal aid.
On whatever side of the political fence we fall, hopefully we can all agree the big ticket items like disaster relief or national defense need to be handled by our federal government and should be a priority.
The two sides will always debate the amount to be spent, but if there are U.S. citizens suffering, not offering immediate aid shouldn’t even be an option.
Yet, here we are still haggling more than two months later.
The problem is our politicians can’t seem to help themselves, especially in the current political climate. They feel like they have to find an angle and push an agenda instead of putting politics aside and doing what’s best for the country.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods don’t have political views. They strike red states and blue. They destroy rich neighborhoods and poor.
It’s time for our leaders to understand you don’t play politics when it comes to disaster relief.