Whatever one may think about a congressman who would oppose such a bill, at least one of the 11 "no" voters -- Rep. Paul -- is quite consistent. He opposes virtually every appropriation or aid bill that ever comes to the House floor. But the same cannot be said about U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.).
On his website, Sensenbrenner's biography informs us that the congressman "has been at the forefront of efforts to eliminate wasteful government spending and protect the interests of American taxpayers." In Sensenbrenner's view, a bill aiding the victims of Katrina is apparently "wasteful." But, apparently, disaster relief bills are not created equal.
Only last spring, heavy rains caused millions of dollars in crop damage in 12 Wisconsin counties. Two of these counties (Jefferson and Ozaukee) happen to be in Sensenbrenner's congressional district. In this news release from last June, Rep. Sensenbrenner joined other lawmakers from his state in urging the federal government to provide disaster-relief funds for the affected farmers. Said Sensenbrenner:
"When nature strikes with such force, there is little we can do to stop or control her impact. But we can help the families who lost their homes and the farmers who lost their crops by lending them a helping hand. I hope (FEMA) Under Secretary (Michael) Brown will quickly approve the Governor's request for assistance so families in Wisconsin can go about getting their lives back in order."How interesting. If you make only a few minor word substitutions in Sensenbrenner's quote, you'd have an equally eloquent rationale for supporting the $51 billion Katrina relief package that the congressman opposed:
"When nature strikes with such force, there is little we can do to stop or control her impact. But we can help the families who lost their homes and the [people] who lost their [jobs] by lending them a helping hand. I hope (FEMA) Under Secretary (Michael) Brown will quickly approve [this] request for assistance so families in [Louisiana, Mississippi and other states] can go about getting their lives back in order."Now, if this leads you to wonder if Sensenbrenner is just a hypocritical pig, please don't jump to conclusions. The congressman must be an honorable man -- I mean, look at the swell friends he has ....
Grover Norquist and Sensenbrenner shake hands.