In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy violently swept across New England, devastating New Jersey and New York. The superstorm caused over $60 billion in damage, destroyed thousands of homes, left millions without electrical power, and resulted in over 70 deaths, most of which occurred in the previously mentioned states. In the aftermath of the storm, Republicans almost immediately rejected disaster aid for those affected, including Senator John McCain, Senator Jeff Flake and Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona. GOP refusal to act delayed a relief funding bill for months until the Senate and the House finally passed a $50 billion package in January 2013, much to the chagrin of most Republicans.
McCain, Flake, and Gosar all voted against relief for the millions of Sandy victims. It’s right there in the public record for all to see. Yet, in what is clearly an example of hypocrisy, these very Republicans are now whining about FEMA denying disaster relief to their own state.
In June, a wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona destroyed 134 homes and killed 19 firefighters, prompting state and national Republicans to call for the federal government to declare the area a disaster area and send federal aid. FEMA denied their request for aid last week, and every Arizona Republican from McCain to Flake to Gosar to Governor Jan Brewer is throwing a hissy fit about it.
FEMA denied Arizona’s request because “the damage to uninsured private residences from this event was not beyond the response and recovery capabilities of the state/local governments, and voluntary agencies.”
In short, FEMA bluntly told Arizona Republicans their state can take care of itself and that they should practice what they preach. For years, Republicans have been calling for people to take responsibility for their own lives, especially people in blue states because the GOP falsely accuses them of being lazy. But when disaster strikes their own states, Republicans are the first to beg for federal assistance, thus throwing their own mantra out the window.
ThinkProgress reports that McCain And Flake “issued a joint statement Monday, lamenting that it was “a shame that FEMA couldn’t find it within their mission to help rebuild their homes and lives.” A riled McCain added that in light of the 19 firefighter deaths and the 134 destroyed homes, “the damage that was done was very substantial and, I believe, qualified. So, we’re going to do everything we can to urge the president to change his mind. Including, I will be making some phone calls.””
So in the narrow minds of these Arizona ‘pick yourself off the ground and dust yourself off’ Republicans, 134 destroyed homes and hundreds of people in their state deserve federal disaster aid but thousands of homes and millions of people in New Jersey and New York do not. The hypocrisy is simply flooring. In reality, Arizona is certainly financially capable of taking care of itself because the federal government already sends the state more money than it receives in taxes. For every tax dollar Arizona sends to Washington, it gets back $1.19 in return, according to the Tax Foundation. In contrast, New York And New Jersey have two of the lowest tax dollar to federal aid ratios in the nation. For every dollar New York and New Jersey sends to Washington in taxes, each receives 79 cents and 61 cents respectively. Simply put, that means Arizona is a parasitic welfare state and New York and New Jersey are donor states.
While Arizonans affected by the wildfire should receive our sympathy, they can’t honestly expect the federal government to jump in and approve disaster aid asked for by the very Republicans who made an effort to deny aid to others, especially when their state is already rolling in federal cash and New York and New Jersey are not. Keep in mind that Republicans have also called for ending FEMA and have attempted to slash the agency’s budget time and time again. Some would say that Republicans are finally getting a taste of their own medicine. If people in red states want disaster aid in the future, perhaps they should elect politicians who won’t vote against coming to the aid of others when that aid is desperately needed. Better still, they could pay their fair share in taxes like blue states do or they should ask what their dear state Republican lawmakers are spending federal dollars on instead of a disaster aid fund for when their states need help. But that’s assuming conservative voters would actually hold Republicans accountable for something instead of blaming Democrats as usual.
Arizona Republicans Who Rejected Sandy Relief Are Now Whining About Arizona Not Getting Disaster Aid