Commentary

The far right of the far right: NC GOP members of Congress hit new low

Wow. Just wow. Every time you think North Carolina’s conservative members of Congress have hit a new low, they plumb new depths. As Doug Clark of the Greensboro News & Record explains in “North Carolina against hurricane relief,” nine of North Carolina’s 10 GOP members of Congress voted “no” on a hurricane relief bill yesterday that the Republican-dominated House passed overwhelmingly. Yes, you read that right. Nine of ten members from one of the nation’s most hurricane-prone states couldn’t even say “yes” to some hurricane relief for their devastated fellow Americans. Here’s Clark:

The vote in the House was 353-69.

All 69 no votes were cast by Republicans.

And nine of those 69 represent a single state: North Carolina.

Only one North Carolina Republican, Patrick McHenry, voted for this disaster-relief bill.

Democrats Alma Adams, G.K. Butterfield and David Price also voted yes.

Let’s put this in perspective. There are 240 Republicans in the House. Only a small minority of them — less than 30 percent — voted against this measure. And the Republican caucus as a whole isn’t a bunch of wild-eyed liberals.

So if less than 30 percent of House Republicans opposed this bill, what explains why 90 percent of North Carolina Republicans voted no?…

Don’t we have our hands out when we’re slammed by hurricanes?

Or is there something in the way we elect our representatives that leads to this kind of vote in Washington? Maybe our districts are so rigged to favor Republicans that the GOP primaries push candidates ever-farther to the right so that those who end up in Congress represent the extremes, not the mainstream.

I’m embarrassed that our congressional delegation stands out, even in a very conservative House, for saying no so emphatically to hurricane relief. Surely, this does not reflect the real North Carolina. Aren’t we better than this?

Yes, $36.5 billion is a lot of money. But do our nay-saying representatives think the damages come to any less?

Will they vote against tax cuts for the wealthy because that, too, will deepen the budget deficit? You know the answer to that question.

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