‘Nope,’ Cantor doesn’t want to abandon FEMA pet-evacuation funding

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a budget hawk known for pushing steep deficit-reduction plans and staring down government shutdown threats, may have a soft spot for animals.

Last week’s failed continuing resolution, aimed at keeping the federal government running through Nov. 18, stalled because of demands that an additional $3.65 billion in FEMA funding be offset by spending cuts elsewhere. Those cuts were to include a $1.5 billion reduction in “clean energy” programs.

Cantor notably insisted in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene that spending cuts elsewhere in government must offset unexpected emergency funds.

But the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006 isn’t on the cutting board. That law compels state and local governments to draft pet evacuation plans, and authorizes reimbursements for pet evacuation, housing, transportation, disposal of carcasses and veterinary costs.

Animals whose care qualifies for reimbursement include any “dog, cat, bird, rabbit, rodent, or turtle that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes,” according to FEMA guidelines.

“Nope,” was Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring’s response when The Daily Caller inquired about whether the PETS Act should be revised or reversed given increasing concern about the federal deficit.

Twenty-three Republican members of Congress voted against the bill, which President George W. Bush signed into law after Hurricane Katrina. Cantor and current House Speaker John Boehner were among those voting “Aye.”

A Boehner spokesman did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who cast one of the dissenting votes, wrote a recent column advocating for the complete abolition of FEMA, calling it “notoriously slow and wasteful.”

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