For Immediate Release: September 1, 2011
Restoring the American Promise Network Says Hurricane Disaster Affirms Interdependence of Communities and Regions in the United States
Criticizes Congressman Cantor for Proposing More Budget Cuts to Pay for New York and Northeast Disaster
The Restoring the American Promise (RAP) network said today that the Hurricane Irene disaster that has devastated wide swaths of eastern New York and the northeastern states has proven again the importance of strong state and federal governments which need to be there for people in need. The coalition criticized Virginia Congressman and GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for his statement that disaster relief will be approved only if Congress identifies other cuts in spending.
“What we have seen and learned again is that when persons are in need and lose everything, their neighbors, local associations and the state and federal governments must be there to help,” said Michael Burgess of the New York Statewide Senior Action Council. ”This disaster in addition to the disasters earlier this year with tornadoes and flooding in the south and the Midwest have proven that we are one nation of interdependent people who have to be there for each other.”
“Congressman Cantor chooses to use every opportunity from the debt ceiling to disasters to create a spending crisis because he wants to limit the federal government’s role in American life. That debate can be had in the regular budget process but not when people need help. What has happened to people from Prattsville to Keene to Windham has been so devastating that the towns, counties and even the state does not have enough resources to rebuild,” said Mary Clark of Citizen Action of New York and the RAP coordinator.
RAP is launching an ongoing initiative to monitor and inform the public of actions by members of Congress that threaten the middle class and those who need social safety net programs, including disaster relief.
“To insist on budget cuts to pay for disaster relief will likely hurt many other persons who use and need government services at a time when the economy is still reeling,” said Dennis Tracey, Executive Director of New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, whose home has been without power since the storm. Tracey called on the entire New York Congressional delegation to support funding for disaster relief and not to create a funding stalemate because of different views on the size and role of the federal government.
The RAP network represents 40 New York State organizations and was formed to defend the social safety net in the state and the nation. The network has been calling attention this summer to the debate on federal spending and the need for more revenues to support public services.