GALVESTON — Social service agencies began laying off employees Thursday after finding out that a single member of the U.S. House of Representatives killed a bill that would have allowed the Houston-Galveston area to keep about $40 million in federal disaster funds. The bill would have extended the Sept. 30 deadline for using what remained of $600 million in social services block grants divided among several states afflicted by disasters…. The bill passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support late Wednesday night just as both houses were wrapping up final business in preparation for adjournment until after the Nov. 2 elections. The Senate sent the bill to the House, where it also had bipartisan support, with a message requesting that it be passed by unanimous consent, a procedure that requires all members to vote for a bill for it to pass. But U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., refused to vote for the bill, killing it. Tiahrt’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
As if you might have needed any more evidence that Republicans lack the compassion gene, one need look no farther than Kansas Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt. Not to be too blunt about it, but due to Tiahrt’s laziness, disdain, and/or absence of simple human decency, thousands of people along the Texas Gulf Coast still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike are essentially being told to pound sand.
This one’s personal for me. Having lived on the Texas Gulf Coast for 10 years, and having returned after Ike to spend two months helping deal with the aftermath of the hurricane, I simply cannot fathom how Tiahrt can justify denying assistance to thousands still struggling to recover more than two years later? Kinda makes you wonder what might happen if a hurricane had leveled Topeka or Wichita, doesn’t it?
How much will Tiahrt’s mean-spirited Conservatism hurt?
The bill’s defeat means that nonprofit agencies such as Houston’s Neighborhood Centers Inc. will stop providing services to the estimated 175,000 households affected by Hurricane Ike.
Neighborhood Centers, which serves Harris, Fort Bend and Waller counties, will have to return $8 million of its $16.5 million social services block grant, said Rene Solis, Neighborhood Centers vice president.
That means at least 1,000 families will be denied assistance and 150 Ike-damaged homes won’t be repaired. “Right now our focus is talking to families … and letting them know that services will not be available,” Solis said.
Nice to know that “Compassionate Conservatism” is still an oxymoron, eh? We’re not talking about bailouts or handouts here. What we’re talking about is desperately needed assistance to families whose lives and homes were devastated by one of the worst natural disasters in our nation’s history. The Texas Gulf Coast is not by any measure a well-off region, and many areas are STILL recovering from Hurricane Ike. The government assistance that Tiahrt’s lack of compassion has denied the victims of Hurricane Ike is money that had already been allocated; it wouldn’t even add to the deficit. What Tiahrt’s problem with extending the deadline could possibly be is anyone’s guess…because he’s not talking.
One can only hope that he will roast slowly in Hell. Very, very slowly.