Source: Tyler Kingkade / The Huffington Post
Washington- House Republicans rolled out their plan to fund disaster relief in Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) district, but at the cost of almost half of remaining loans set aside to help the American auto industry.
Included in their plan for a continuing resolution to fund the government past Sept. 30 is a provision to cut $1.5 billion of the $3.4 billion in remaining funds for low-cost loans — sometimes referred to as “Section 136 loans.” The money would be reused to pay for aid to states as they clean up after recent natural disasters like Hurricane Irene and the rare east coast earthquake — both of which greatly affected Cantor’s Virginia district. The cost of disaster assistance is usually added to the budget deficit instead of offset with cuts.
Democrats and an auto industry expert warn the funds Cantor picked to pay for disaster aid is currently supporting a successful program that has pulled manufacturing jobs back from other countries and helped keep the industry alive around the eastern Midwest. Taking the money away would jeopardize that program.
“We absolutely need to fund disaster recovery assistance in Eric Cantor’s district and all areas affected by Hurricane Irene and the recent earthquake, but that doesn’t make it ok to kill American manufacturing jobs,” Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “The Greater Detroit area that I represent has been hit the hardest by the recession and I strongly oppose the Republican plan to kill our jobs and delay our recovery.”
The loan program is part of a $25 billion initiative within the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was a broad plan Democrats pushed to improve energy efficiency in everything from fuel standards to light bulbs.
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