Some of the same voices demanding cuts in exchange for relief today balked at applying such fiscal restraints in the past. That list includes the most vocal champion of offsetting the costs of repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Irene, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who recently said that "just like any family would operate when it's struck with disaster," Congress would "have to make sure there are savings elsewhere" to pay for the aftermath of the storm.
Yet a bemused Democratic source notes that in October 2004, Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have "fully offset" the cost of that supplemental with "a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding" elsewhere. Funding for defense, homeland security, and veterans was exempted from the proposed cuts. But the amendment, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), would do precisely what Republican leadership is proposing to do now.