In the wake of the mass poisoning in Flint, Michigan, efforts to rush aid to the beleaguered city have hit a puzzling number of roadblocks in Congress. Surely, you’d say, providing clean water to our citizens and helping treat the thousands of kids who are currently suffering from lead poisoning should be a high priority, given that it is one of the most basic functions of government?
But several Republicans have used the crisis to make some kind of ridiculous point about spending and fiscal responsibility which only served to highlight their own hypocrisy when it comes to demanding aid for their own states. Presidential candidate and universally despised religious extremist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) held up the bill for several days for an unknown reason, but it was rumored that he needed more “specifics” from the state before they blindly dispersed federal funds – which was never an issue when he begged the federal government for disaster relief money for floods his home state of Texas, which incidentally receives the most federal aid money out of all the states. But I digress.
Realizing that revealing just what a heartless and self-serving bastard he really is would probably hurt his presidential campaign, Cruz soon withdrew his objection – only to have another ambitious hypocrite step in to keep the aid bill from passing. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has blocked the bill, saying that “Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year and a large rainy-day fund. Relief and repair efforts are already in the works.
The people and policymakers of Michigan right now have all the government resources they need to fix the problem. … The only thing Congress is contributing to the Flint recovery is political grandstanding.”
While Michigan does have an unexpected budget surplus of $575 million, Snyder’s atrocious management of the state has created crises all over the place, especially in the long-neglected Detroit school district which will require some $700 million to stabilize. The people of Flint need help now, and given how poorly the state government has handled the situation up to this point, the federal government can’t trust Snyder and must once again step in to clean up a Republican mess.
The real kicker, however, is that when floods in his home state of Utah did a great deal of damage to local infrastructure, he was singing quite a different tune when he held out his hands for disaster relief money. “That money is there. It’s been appropriated for disaster relief, and I see no reason why Utah ought not be entitled to receive such federal funds.”
This is unfortunately a common sentiment among self-serving Republicans, who see no need to spend any money on anything unless it directly impacts their state, and thus their own standing and chances of getting re-elected. It’s a show of shameless hypocrisy that reveals where their priorities truly lie – and it’s not with the people they ostensibly represent.