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Durbin: Hurricane Relief Can’t Be Tied To Spending Cuts

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U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois’ senior U.S. Senator is blasting Republicans who want to tie hurricane relief funds to cuts in federal spending.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, some top Congressional Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), suggest that federal disaster aid being distributed in the wake of Hurricane Irene should be accompanied by cuts in other federal programs.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“We’re out of money, all of us,” Roskam, who is deputy House majority whip, said earlier this week. “If we’re going to do things like thoughtfully caring for people who have been impacted by a disaster, we need to recognize that there’s a cost to that.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)—a Democrat—says the Republicans are living in a fantasy world. He says it’s beyond reality to think that Congress could—or should—cut vital federal programs in Housing or Education in order to pay for disaster relief.

“We have had more disasters; more natural disasters this year worth more than $1 billion in cost, than in our history, and the year isn’t even close to being over,” Durbin said, “and I cannot imagine that you can turn to HUD and the Education Department and take the money out of that to pay for these disasters.”

He spoke after the Department of Housing and Urban Development committed more than $30 million dollars to revitalize the struggling Grove Parc Plaza low-income housing development, and thus revitalize the Woodlawn community on the South Side.

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