Editorials

Why did two Missouri Democrats in Congress vote against a disaster relief bill?

The U.S. House approved an $81 billion aid package for victims of hurricanes and wildfires. Why did local Democrats vote no?
The U.S. House approved an $81 billion aid package for victims of hurricanes and wildfires. Why did local Democrats vote no? TNS

The sad use of federal disaster aid as a political football continues.

On Thursday, the House passed an $81 billion disaster relief bill designed to help victims of 2017 hurricanes and wildfires. The vote was 251-169.

Nine out of 10 Republicans from Kansas and Missouri voted for the measure. That’s interesting since most of them opposed a much smaller disaster relief bill in September.

At the time, most said they voted no because the disaster money was attached to a bill raising the debt ceiling. They wanted to use the vote to reduce Washington’s red ink, not expand it.

The excuse was ridiculous. It seems doubly suspicious now because the $81 billion wasn’t offset by other spending cuts, either.

The Democrats from Missouri? Reps. Emanuel Cleaver and William Lacy Clay voted against the $81 billion, which is shameful and hypocritical. Kansas City and St. Louis have sought federal disaster relief in the past and will do so again.

Lawmakers offer explanations for these votes, but they’re really just excuses for abandoning Americans in need. It’s a horrible way to run a government and particularly tragic when it threatens essential help for our neighbors. Congress should knock it off.

The Kansas City Star editorial board

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