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Kumbaya on Disaster Funds?

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Last week House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and President Obama were talking past one another on the issue of additional funding to relieve communities devastated by Hurricane Irene.

Cantor, having asserted that any new spending on disaster relief would have to be offset by other spending cuts, was demanding an official request for supplemental funds from Obama himself. The White House, after a few days of monitoring developments in the affected states, requested a new $5.2 billion through a blog post from budget director Jack Lew.

On Friday, with little fanfare, the president sent House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a 190-word letter requesting $500 million for fiscal 2011 and another $4.6 billion for 2012, attaching a letter from Lew with details.

On Monday, Cantor told reporters matter-of-factly that the 2011 request would be included in a continuing resolution, which in turn would provide time to "get straight on all the monies." He added that "nobody in need of relief is not going to get it. We also believe very much that we can do this and do it in a responsible way."

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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