I’m not interested in picking a fight with my Democratic Party counterpart in Pitkin County, but Blanca O’Leary’s recent letter to the editor about our Congressman is wrong and requires a response. In her letter (“Disaster not a bargaining chip,” Aspen Daily News, Jan. 19) Blanca says that Congressman Scott Tipton’s vote on Superstorm Sandy relief legislation demonstrates a lack of compassion for the victims (which included my daughter and her family). I beg to differ.
As in all things emanating from Washington, D.C., the relief legislation was complicated. In early January, Congress voted $9.7 billion to replenish flood insurance funds to enable the federal government to pay claims to Sandy victims. In mid-January, the House of Representatives voted an additional $17 billion in Sandy-related emergency funding. Scott Tipton was a yes vote on both these pieces of legislation providing relief to Sandy victims.
An amendment was then introduced in the House to authorize an additional $33.7 billion of expenditures (roughly two times the amount of the previous package), having nothing to do with emergency relief to Sandy victims. I’ve read the legislation. These additional funds were allocated to such items as weather research programs and expenses of various federal agencies already covered by other legislation. Almost half the additional funds ($16 billion) were authorized for use in states throughout the country not impacted by Sandy. Scott Tipton voted no on this amendment.
My idea of compassion is using tax dollars for the people affected by the Sandy disaster. It is not compassionate for the federal government, under the guise of providing relief to Sandy victims, to spend the money for other purposes. At some point we need to recognize that all of these expenditures come out of the pockets of hard working Americans who struggle to meet their own daily expenses and to pay federal income tax. That includes most of the adults in Scott Tipton’s Congressional District. Furthermore, 40 percent of the additional funds not going to Sandy victims will be borrowed and will increase the already enormous federal debt burden faced by our children and grandchildren.
We are indeed a compassionate country and the direct aid to Sandy victims for which Scott Tipton voted in the affirmative reflects that compassion. What is not compassionate is squandering money for which most Americans work very hard and increasing the debt burden on future generations for purposes unrelated to the Sandy disaster.
Chair, Pitkin County Republicans