Rep. Blackburn: "We're Not Going To Cry 'Emergency' Every Time We Have A Katrina"

July 22, 2009 12:34 pm ET — Chris Harris

While speaking on the floor of the House on July 22, 2009, Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) shockingly exclaimed: "we're not going to cry 'emergency' every time we have a Katrina."

The Meaning Of "Emergency"

While extolling the virtues of a balanced budget during a PAYGO debate on the floor of the House, Rep. Marsha Blackburn shamefully exclaimed:

Let's agree that we're going to have PAYGO enforcement.  That we're not going to cry 'emergency' every time we have a Katrina, every time we have a Tsunami, every time we have a need for extra spending, that we don't go call for a special appropriation that allows us to circumvent the PAYGO rules.

This statement is shocking on many levels.  While we can all appreciate the benefits of a balanced budget, those benefits pale in comparison to the virtues of saving lives in the midst of an actual emergency.  If saving thousands of lives costs a few extra dollars, so be it.  That's why it's an "emergency."

For instance, Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,464 in Louisiana alone, would surely qualify as an emergency by anyone's standards.  In fact, Rep. Blackburn herself supported the "Emergency Appropriations" bill in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Rep. Blackburn has either changed her mind about what qualifies as an emergency, or she is deliberately exploiting the suffering of others to score political points.  Either way, it's just not right.