Let the record show that the two Louisiana representatives who are part of the Republican Congressional leadership voted against aid to help the state recover from a series of disasters.
And also against maintaining open government. Because what’s the point of having a government that works anyway, if you’re not going to put it at the service of the people you represent?
The headline last week for communities in Louisiana struggling to recover from a crushing four hurricane is that Congress has finally approved much-needed community development block grants to help with reconstruction. Aid, less than what is needed but at least something, has been added as a measure of last resort to avoid a partial government shutdown.
But part of the story – which shouldn’t be swept under the rug once the ribbon cuts begin – is that House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, and Republican Conference Vice President Mike Johnson, R-Benton, don’t deserve any credit. to bring the money home. This even though the two signed a delegation letter to Biden’s White House claiming that “without substantial and solid emergency funding from Congress … Louisiana families will continue to languish in the wake of these devastating storms.”
Apparently, they have other priorities than these languid Louisiana families.
Having other priorities is a bit of a thing these days, especially with a number of big partisan struggles happening at the same time. That Democrats are tightly in charge of Congress and also hold the presidency, and that they are more inclined to spend federal money even on the Red states, seems to complicate matters for the majority Republican members of Louisiana.
U.S. Representative Clay Higgins R-Lafayette voted for the bill, but only after doing little to speed up aid to areas in his district decimated by Category 4 Hurricane Laura and a series of subsequent disasters.
So do US Senator Bill Cassidy, who sometimes joins Senate moderates in supporting important Democrat legislation, and his Senate colleague John Kennedy, who rarely does. The two, however, opposed an earlier version of the aid attached to a Democratic bill to suspend the debt limit (Cassidy later explained in a town hall online with The Advocate and The Times-Picayune that ‘they held out until they knew a GOP’s efforts to overcome filibuster would fail, which is not a very compelling reason). U.S. Representatives Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, and Julia Letlow, R-Start, as well as the only Democrat in the delegation, U.S. Representative Troy Carter from New Orleans also voted in favor.
Before anyone gives all those Republicans credit for putting their constituents above the party, think about what happens with the separate $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which includes billion for roads, bridges, coastal restoration, storm defenses and high-speed Internet.
Cassidy helped draft the bill and get it through the Senate with votes to spare – albeit without Kennedy’s backing – and he makes a strong case that its passage would be “great” for Louisiana. And yet, Scalise has whipped his Republican colleagues in the House to vote against. So far, most are online, including all of the Louisiana GOP delegation.
They fallaciously argue that Louisiana would not be guaranteed its fair share, to which Cassidy effectively responded at mayoralty by pointing out many line items specifically intended for areas prone to natural disasters. âHello, this is us,â he said at one point.
They also claim that President Joe Biden would somehow bypass Louisiana in favor of its political allies, even though a CNBC analysis of the bill projects higher per capita spending than in many blue states. Particularly disappointing is Letlow, who campaigned to bring broadband to her rural district but says she will vote no even if the bill spends $ 65 billion on the cause.
“When it comes from a Democratic majority and administration, from what I witnessed in Washington, I just don’t trust it right now,” she told KNOE .
Stephanie Grace: GOP Representatives Put Party Line Above Voter Needs Exposed By Ida
Of course, one way to make sure your priorities are included is to get involved, like Cassidy did.
Instead, opponents sit back and watch Democrats fight among themselves over whether to pass the infrastructure bill without also approving a larger and more confrontational social spending package, though – or more. probably because – their own quasi-general opposition gives progressive refractories leverage against moderate Democrats.
I’m sure it’s great fun for them to watch their political opponents tear themselves apart and jeopardize their own president’s agenda.
Maybe not so much fun for their constituents, who could really benefit from all the improvements promised by the bill.