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Tuesday, Oct 13, 2015

We must have a better way to fund disaster aid

Highlands Today

The devastation in Oklahoma is just one more reminder that Mother Nature can be cruel and leave destruction of lives and property in no time. Now the cleanup begins, as it did in Hurricane Sandy, in the Joplin, Mo., tornado last year, and countless other calamities.

While they search for survivors and victims, members of Congress are already haggling over what to do about emergency funding to rebuild the area. Part of Oklahoma's own Republican delegation is already saying that the money used to rebuild Oklahoma must be cut from elsewhere in the budget. Not all congressional Republicans are saying this, but a few are and they are the same ones who didn't want to give aid to Hurricane Sandy victims.

It seems unbelievable that we have this conversation these days the day after a disaster. It should never be an issue, but it seems like Congress is caught off guard every time. Shouldn't our country already have a fund for such disasters since they seem to hit fairly often?

We're Americans and we should always look out for fellow Americans in times of crisis. We should help out everywhere in the world, for that matter, but certainly at home there should never even be a debate about these kinds of things.

Actually Americans already do this without prompting from the government, but on the big ticket items we have to depend on Congress. Unfortunately, everything has to become some politicized issue to score points or make the other side look bad. In reality, they make themselves look like fools during a crisis.

Having money set aside to deal with these disasters is as important as national security or anything else. We can't budget for every natural disaster, but we can prepare for it.

Meanwhile our thoughts and prayers are with the people whose lives will never be the same again. And we know, just as everyone living anywhere knows, it could happen to any of us if weather conditions are just right and we're in the path of destruction.