A massive storm is expected to claw its way up the Eastern Seaboard between now and Halloween night. Some forecasters say Hurricane Sandy will be worse than last year's Hurricane Irene that hit the East Coast last year.
What will be interesting is to see how Mitt Romney reacts in the wake of the storm.
Mayors and governors, including New Jersey Republican Chris Christie, rely heavily on the coordination and services provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA's already tracking the storm (here is the latest forecast) and alerting local municipalities. And FEMA will be there for the clean up.
But Mitt Romney would drastically cut funding for disaster relief agencies like FEMA. Romney won't give specifics on his budget plan, but as Mother Jones noted in August:
In a 2012 report on Rep. Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" road map (which Romney has said is similar to his own), the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that, due to the severe cuts to non-entitlement, non-defense spending, the costs for things like emergency management would have to be passed on to the states—which, with just a few exceptions, are currently in an even tighter financial bind than Washington.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains Romney's cuts like this:
Romney wants to increase defense spending, promises not to raise taxes, and says he'll pay off the debt. He'll have to cut government programs like FEMA to make that happen.
In 2011, Romney actually called it "immoral" to add to the nation's debt, ostensibly through agencies like FEMA that provide disaster relief under the federal budget:
Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better. (...) We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.
Romney wants states to take over disaster relief. The Republican governors in Florida and New Jersey can count on the current administration to provide aid.
Who will help when a hurricane hits during the Romney administration?