Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Monday, January 07, 2013 6:18 PM
Critics who have long accused politicians in Washington, D.C. of being out of touch need look no further than the current leader of the U.S. Senate for Exhibit A in making their case.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared on the Senate floor that Hurricane Katrina was ‘‘nothing in comparison to what happened to the people in New York and New Jersey’’ compliments of Hurricane Sandy last fall.
Reid’s comments came as he pushed for passage of an aid package to help residents, businesses and government entities in the Northeast in their recovery from damages wrought by Sandy.
The U.S. House approved on Friday a $9.7 billion check to bolster the federal flood insurance program, but that’s a far cry from the $60 billion appropriation that the Senate passed.
That’s when Reid weighed in.
‘‘... When we had the devastation from Katrina, we were there within days taking care of Mississippi, Alabama and especially Louisiana — within days. We are now past two months with the people of New York and New Jersey.’’
And then this gem: ‘‘The people of New Orleans and that area, they were hurt but nothing in comparison of what happened to the people of New York and New Jersey.’’
Ahem, Mr. Senate Majority Leader, here’s the scorecard:
Hurricane Sandy: 120 deaths and $80 billion-plus in damages.
Hurricane Katrina: 1,833 deaths and $145 billion-plus in damages.
Maybe in Reid’s warped reality, residents of the Northeast are more valuable than us in the South.
And, of course, the esteemed gentleman from Nevada conveniently forgets that had it not been for the failure of the levee system built by a the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — a federal agency — Katrina’s toll would not have been so tragic.
We’d like for Reid to come to New Orleans, stand on the corner of Canal and Carondelet and repeat his same outlandish comments so that he could get a dose of reality.
We’d also request he take to the Senate well today and issue an apology to Gulf Coast residents for his asinine remarks.
Those who have suffered from Sandy’s winds, rain and tide deserve federal aid to help with their recovery. They shouldn’t be begrudged that as those whose lives were touched by Hurricane Katrina and Rita well know.
But, Katrina’s victims shouldn’t be thrown under the bus in the process, particularly by a D.C. politician who clearly hasn’t the foggiest about the subject matter.
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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.