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Look in the mirror, John

It is of course a terrible thing that the actions of a single Republican will keep the Houston/Galveston area from keeping $40 million in federal disaster funds, but the reaction to it from certain quarters is more than a little precious.

The bill passed the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support late Wednesday night just as both houses were wrapping up final business in preparation for adjournment until after the Nov. 2 elections. The Senate sent the bill to the House, where it also had bipartisan support, with a message requesting that it be passed by unanimous consent, which allows lawmakers to speed up the passage of a bill as long as no member objects. But U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s office said U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., refused to vote on the bill, killing it. Tiahrt’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Cornyn, R-Dallas, who introduced the bill in the Senate, said, “I’m greatly disappointed that this bipartisan legislation was obstructed by one person, and he needs to step up and explain his actions to Texans and families in other impacted states.”

News flash, John: This has been the modus operandi for the entire Republican caucus since January of 2009. Do the names Jim DeMint or Tom Coburn mean anything to you? And now we know, it’s bigger than Todd Tiahrt.

The leadership and Republican members of the Appropriations Committee agreed that Texas took so long to spend its share of a 2008 disaster grant for $600 million that the state probably didn’t need the money, said the staff member, who wasn’t authorized to comment on the issue and asked not to be identified.

“The state of Texas has had almost two years to spend that money,” the staff member said. The staff member said other states dispersed their share of the money much quicker than Texas.

The committee members were also concerned that the bill came to the House just as it was getting ready to adjourn so that it could not be studied.

“It was the committee’s objection in consultation with our Republican leadership” that killed the bill, the staff member said.

The only difference between what happened here and pretty much everything else these past two years is that the former gored an ox that Cornyn happened to favor. That’s a shame on many levels, but it’s clearly not out of character. What’s more, if it weren’t for the coordinated Republican strategy of delaying and slow-rolling everything in the Senate via its endless morass of arcane anti-democratic rules, it’s highly likely this bill would have been sent to the House and easily passed weeks ago. Whose fault is that, John?

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