Hurricane Sandy relief: A sad beginning for America

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ULISH CARTER

 

January 1, 2013 was a sad day in America in two ways. First because the Republicans continued to debate what should have been a no brainer, we almost fell off the Fiscal Cliff. But at the last minute, at about 11:30 p.m. Jan. 1 they allowed a vote on the compromise bill sent to them by the Senate and approved by the President.
Instead of a tax break for 98 percent of Americans, 97 percent of small businesses and a tax hike on those making $250,000 or more to 39.6 percent, they compromised because of the hardships the GOP felt would have been put on people making $250,000. So the compromise was individuals making $400,000 or more and couples making $450,000 or more. The shame is that the GOP was going to allow complete chaos in this country with unemployment benefits cut, massive unemployment, Medicare and other health related treatment to be halted, military spending halted, because a handful of rich people complained about not being able to make it on a measly $250,000. And even more shockingly was that even though the Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly 88-9, with Tea Party people like Pa. U.S. Senator Pat Toomey voting in favor, if it wasn’t for the Democrats the House would have defeated it. The Republicans in the house vote was 85 for and 151 against. I was shocked. The Democrats vote was 172 for and 16 against.   Making the final vote according to C-Span, 257-167.
What was just as shocking were the responses coming from the Republican phone line after the vote on C-Span voicing their disapproval of the vote, they were angry that the House and Senate did not allow the country to go over the Cliff instead of taxing the rich.
They could not give intelligent answers or tell why they were angry other than all this spending must end. It sounded to me as though they really didn’t care what happened to all those thousands of people if this country fell off the Cliff, as long as we didn’t spend any more money.
But as shocking as this was, what really made me sick was the fact that after the vote on the Fiscal Cliff, representatives, mostly from New York and New Jersey, had to get up and plead with the Republican run House to allow a vote on the $60 billion support/relief bill approved by the Senate to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. There were representatives from both parties some pleading and some demanding that the Speaker allow a vote on the bill, because of the thousands who would suffer if they delayed it, or not vote on it at all. Even some representatives who were not from New York or New Jersey joined in the plea, but it was for not. There was no vote. On the Sunday morning shows most of the Republicans said they were against the bill because there was so much Pork in it. And that Republicans from those devastated areas would have voted for anything to help their people. Wow. How cold can you get? If there was Pork, it was put there by both parties because it was a bi-partisan bill. It was supported 88-9 by the Senate. As one of the Republican representative from the New York area said, if there was too much Pork, then take it out and re-submit the bill to the Senate. “We are here, American citizens need our help.”
Have we become a country that simply doesn’t care? Practically all the speakers made note that the House has always taken care of its citizens after natural disasters yet for some reason this House was so concerned about how much it would cost, they didn’t care about the suffering Americans. They didn’t even allow a vote.
Have we become a country that just doesn’t care about anything? Are we so caught up in the budget and protecting the rich that we don’t care about the average citizen anymore? All I have to say is that what goes around comes around. And if we don’t help these people, if we don’t help people in need period, it’s going to hurt us much more than a deficit will in the long run.
It’s time these so called Christians start speaking out about helping others because you cannot be a Christian if you don’t care for the less fortunate or people in need among us, if all you care about is your pocket. These people need to read the book of Acts to learn what the original disciples priorities were.
Where is the Tea Party now?
Where are the Pat Robertsons? This was a sickening display of where we are going as Americans. It was not a pleasant sight and I was somewhat surprised that the president didn’t say anything about it in his speech after the Fiscal Cliff vote. He did later when it became an issue.
The new house was sworn in last week, and is expected to vote on the bill hopefully sometime this month. But as the representatives pleaded, will it be too little too late. A week or a month makes a big difference to disaster victims. The people need help now.
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.) 

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