Turns out Keith Rothfus was a trailblazer, not an outlier, when it comes to Republican opposition to Hurricane Sandy relief.
The Sewickley freshman took it on the chin for his first vote against emergency aid after the NJ/NY superstorm but by last night had two-thirds of the entire House GOP sharing his position and even pushing a bold but failed Tea Party-supported effort to cut billions in spending (including on defense) to offset one plank of the relief effort. Locally, Tim Murphy and Mike Kelly joined him in the votes. (The roll call is here.)
Only Republicans from the northeast joining with Democrats got the relief pushed by Chris Christie and others approved, in what presages more brutal fights the next time another part of the nation faces a natural disaster, along with related and ongoing fights on other spending plans.
The vote followed the unorthodox pattern of the tax deal that temporarily resolved the "fiscal cliff" dilemma in Congress two weeks ago, with every Democrat joining Republicans from areas affected by the October storm and a few GOP leaders to approve the relief package. Congress awarded the emergency aid notwithstanding complaints from conservatives who said the spending should have been balanced with cuts elsewhere in the federal budget.
. . . "Unfortunately, the package voted on today results in another $50 billion borrowed from our kids and grandkids. Moving forward, I will work with my colleagues to craft better ways to budget and pay for future natural disaster relief," Mr. Rothfus said.