RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is at the center of a fierce debate over increasing funding for FEMA to make sure there are enough resources available to help victims of hurricane Irene and the recent earthquake centered in Mineral.
Cantor has promised that the aid Virginians are looking for will be there. He just isn't prepared to authorize that funding without companion cuts in other parts of the budget. This is what he told us Wednesday night.
"How can you sit here and say we are trying to be fiscally responsible out of one side of your mouth and then do something out of the other?" said Cantor.
But that wasn't always Congressman Cantor's stance. The last time a tropical storm hit his district hard, back in August 2004, Cantor sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge that said: "Time is of the essence and it is important to start working on this matter so that my constituents can receive help in this time of need."
That effort led to 20 million dollars in federal disaster relief for Central Virginia - relief that was obtained without the companion demand of equal cuts to the federal budget. That polar opposite view from 2004 to 2011 ranks as a "full flop" by the reporters of Politifact Virginia. A flop that Times-Dispatch Reporter Warren Fiske says that team Cantor believes is necessary because times are different.
"He's arguing that new programs have to be offset , with cuts in spending and that there have to be cuts in spending period!" said Fiske.