House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats will not support any spending cuts to pay for additional disaster relief.
On Wednesday a continuing resolution failed in the Republican-controlled House that included a $1.5 billion cut to a vehicle manufacturing loan program to help pay for additional Federal Emergency Management Agency funding.
“Assistance at the time of a natural disaster, it should not be a controversial issue, it hasn’t been before,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “These people are not affected as Democrats or Republicans or people who believe in a big role of government, small role of government, they’re Americans, they’ve been hit hard, it’s very hard to see how they will be made whole.”
FEMA currently faces a budget shortfall after the latest natural disasters including Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, signed into law by former President George W. Bush in 2008, provides loans to companies like Ford to help them meet higher federal fuel economy standards. Pelosi said Republicans should not oppose this program.
“This wasn’t about paying for a disaster. This was about destroying an initiative that is job creating,” Pelosi said.
“Why would you take a half a billion dollars out of an initiative with the excuse that you need it for a disaster and just rescind it, just erase it from the possibility of people making loans into it?” Pelosi asked. “We shouldn’t even be having this conversation.”