Clout counts in nation’s capital
Everything in Washington revolves around politics. Everything. So if you believe federal money is distributed solely on the basis of need, you are sadly deluded.
That is not to say officials such as those in the Federal Emergency Management Agency do not try hard to ensure that when disaster victims need help, they get it. If you doubt that, consider the leeway federal officials granted West Virginia state government after it mismanaged tens of millions of dollars in aid intended for victims of 2016 floods.
Still, clout matters. So, when U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced $4.4 million in FEMA funding for the state, there was reason to be grateful to them.
FEMA money is intended to aid the state Division of Highways in repairing highways damaged in flooding last February (the money is separate from the 2016 flood aid program).
Of the total, $1.1 million will go for repairs in Ohio County and $1 million is earmarked for Hancock County. The remainder will go to Monongalia and Lincoln counties.
Capito is chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. Manchin is a member of the full Senate Appropriations Committee.
Seats on committees and subcommittees handling appropriations are much sought-after in Congress. They help lawmakers steer money to their home states.
Good for Manchin and Capito then, for landing seats on those panels — which are good for West Virginians.