Hurricanes in North Carolina can alter races. Some argue that Matthew hurt Democratic turnout in 2016 because of the damage that it caused in counties like Robeson. A storm the size of Florence could cause severe damage all the way into the Triangle. Fran hit in September 1996, leaving much of the Triangle without power and other services for weeks. Priorities and voting patterns change when your top priority is food and shelter.
With Hurricane Florence poised to hit the North Carolina coast as a Category 4 storm, it’s a good time to remember the North Carolina Members of Congress who consistently vote against disaster relief. Republicans Virginia Foxx, George Holding, Richard Hudson, Mark Meadows, David Rouzer, and Mark Walker voted against relief for hurricane victims twice last year, once for victims of Harvey inTexas and Louisiana and once for victims of Puerto Rico which was hit twice in a month. Foxx, Holding and Hudson also voted against relief for victims of Sandy, the storm that devastated New Jersey in 2013. I suspect Mark Walker would have joined them if he had been in Congress at the time.
None of them will oppose relief for North Carolina if the storm slams into the already saturated state. That’s called hypocrisy. It also demonstrates the lack of empathy that infects the Republican Party. People like Holding, Hudson and Foxx routinely ignore the pain of others while expecting help when tragedy befalls people close to them.
Mark Walker argued against the disaster relief bill because it contained no offsetting spending cuts. Yet, Walker enthusiastically voted to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans in a bill that exploded the deficit. That’s really an illustration of Walker’s priorities. He certainly didn’t ask for offsets to pay for the tax bill.
If we get socked with this storm, and it sure looks like we will, all of our Representatives will hurry to disaster areas to show their concern. They’ll all vote for recovery money and pledge to rebuild the devastated parts of the state. And then, people like Hudson, Holding, and Foxx will routinely vote against natural disaster that hit other states because those Americans just don’t matter as much.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >