Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, said today he plans to hold a hearing on the state and federal response to Tropical Storm Irene and questioned Rep. Nan Hayworth’s stance that disaster aid needs to be tied to cuts in federal spending.
Hayworth, R-Mount Kisco, Westchester County, was quoted in the Middletown Times Herald-Record yesterday saying that she supports the position of House Republicans that any additional disaster aid needs to be coupled with cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.
Ball said that position is misguided.
He said he doesn’t know “if she’s taking orders from (House Speaker John) Boehner or (House Majority Leader Eric) Cantor or whoever, but she needs to spend a little bit more time in the district and see the pain,” Ball told Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “I mean you can’t be attaching people’s lifeline to a political game in D.C.”
Hayworth sent a letter to President Obama yesterday asking that the entire 19th Congressional District, which stretches across the Hudson Valley, be declared a federal disaster area. Some of it was yesterday.
Ball heads the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs and said his hearing will try to explore ways state and local governments could have better responded and prepared for the storm, which wiped out parts of upstate and at its height left 1 million people without power.
“Everybody in government should accept blame for the fact that New York state right now, 10 years after 9/11, is not prepared for either a man made or natural disaster,” he said.
Updated: Ball just put out a statement that knocks Hayworth:
“In the wake of a disaster where families are reeling from the impact, it’s vitally important that all branches of government be in a position to immediately and proactively step up to the plate and provide dignity and comfort in a time of need. Playing politics and making any assertion that we should withhold services and funds necessary to provide comfort is simply a dereliction of duty,” Ball said. “It seems that our representative in Congress is more focused on playing political gamesmanship in the Beltway rather than providing the necessary leadership to defend and support the struggling families, small business owners, and taxpayers back home.