Cain: House Republicans should fund FEMA now, worry about offsets later

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain — fresh off a surprise victory in the Florida straw poll that has re-energized his campaign — broke with House Republicans on Monday and urged Congress to fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster-relief program now, regardless of whether they can tie budget offsets to the bill.

“I would make sure that FEMA got the money it needed, and if I had to go find the offsets later, go find it later. Stop playing with people’s tragedies — these are real people we’re talking about,” Cain said on CNN.

{mosads}Cain argued that keeping the disaster programs funded now was more important than finding the immediate cuts, and suggested an agreement that would keep the program from becoming a “political football.”

“We’re going to have a gentleman’s agreement that we will find the offsets, rather than finding the offsets right in the middle of it and making it a political football,” Cain said.

The House has approved a resolution to keep the government funded through Nov. 18 that would also provide funds for disaster relief, but Senate Democrats object to offsets in the bill that would eliminate funding for two green-energy programs. 

Cain also responded to criticism from Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who said that the budget standoff was “embarrassing” and that Tea Party conservatives needed to do a better job picking their battles. Cain agreed with the Virginia Democrat, saying that this is not an issue he would pursue as doggedly as have House conservatives.

“This is one that I would basically try to, you know, fall on my sword for — go ahead and do what’s right for the people,” Cain said. “People should not have to suffer because of the political bickering.”

Tags Mark Warner

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