Well, we should have seen this coming:
Republicans Say They Expect Spending Offsets for Sandy Disaster AidRepublicans, led by Eric Cantor, pulled this stunt in the spring of 2011, after a tornado cut through Joplin, Missouri, and then a couple of months later, after Hurricane Irene and an East Coast earthquake (which damaged Cantor's home state of Virginia). This was wildly unpopular, even with Virginia's Republican governor, but when has being unpopular ever prevented Republicans from posturing as obnoxious hard-asses?
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, signaling that Republicans may revive last year’s battles over offsets to disaster aid relief, says he expects any package to help Northeast states hit by the superstorm Sandy will have to including matching cuts in spending elsewhere in the federal budget.
"We always help communities during disasters," he said Wednesday after having met earlier in the day with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is pushing for quick passage of an aid package. "The difference you have got now is that it is going to have to be offset." ...
Hurricane Sandy hit two states particularly hard. One was New York. New York State has a Democratic governor who's a possible 2016 presidential candidate, and New York City has an independent mayor who, after the storm, gave a last-minute endorsement to Barack Obama. So, for the GOP, threatening to screw New York is a no-brainer.
The other devastated state, however, is New Jersey, which has a governor who is seen -- or who used to be seen -- as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016. But Chris Christie cozied up to Obama after Sandy, which made him extraordinarily popular in his blue state a year before he's up for reelection, but cast him, in Republican circles, as the Judas who literally lost the election for Mitt Romney.
The old Chris Christie, the one who was a GOP love object, liked to be a fiscal scold -- but now, if his fellow Republicans in Washington try to hold up this aid, is he going to blame Democrats for not cutting spending enough? Or is he going to lash out at his the members of his own party who are holding aid up? While we wait to see, should we cook up some popcorn?