After word got out that President Donald Trump might tap into hard-won disaster prevention money slated for Louisiana in order to build his border wall, the state’s congressional delegation went to work lobbying the administration to keep its hands off the state’s badly needed infrastructure.
Good, but not good enough.
The country needs to draw a line in the sand and declare that the president can’t use a so-called emergency on the border — one that somehow wasn’t enough of an emergency during the two years he had full GOP control in Congress to do anything about it — to justify creating a real emergency.
Consider an alarming tweet from U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s communications Matt Wolking. Cassidy himself has suggested that money for the wall come from Mexican drug cartels, but Wolking argued that diverting resources for flood control projects in California, home state of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "makes sense given that she won't give a single dollar for border security."
Actually, it doesn’t, in all sorts of ways.
The obvious one is that politicizing disaster funding is flat-out inhumane. That should end the discussion right there.
If it doesn’t, there’s also the fact that the shoe could one day be on the other foot.
Cassidy’s constituents don’t have to imagine that possibility, because they’ve already lived through it. Following Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi got a disproportionate share of the initial relief dollars, in large part because it had a Republican governor friendly to the Bush White House, as well as the Senate Appropriations chairman. Louisiana’s relatively junior delegation and Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco spent years pushing for basic fairness.
And if even that’s not enough, consider the current lay of the land.
Pelosi is from California, but so is her GOP counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the only House Republican who outranks Louisiana’s Steve Scalise. And last I checked, California had 53 votes in the House, to Louisiana’s six.
Anyone out there willing to stake their future on those odds?