But Reed agrees with House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s contention that any disaster spending should be offset by budget cuts elsewhere. New York and other states need money to clean up and rebuild now — not whenever Washington politicians are done with their brinkmanship and horse-trading.

In the contentious debate over spending and reducing the nation’s massive debt, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) hasn’t wavered in his belief that big spending cuts are imperative for the health of our government and country.

Most of us wouldn’t argue with that view, although how those cuts are achieved and their time frame can certainly be debated. But to govern effectively, there must be exceptions. One is in time of war. Another is in time of disaster.

New York isn’t a state that often needs big money to help with natural disasters. Such assistance traditionally comes in the form of small packages for farmers with weather-related damage or governments in need of extra money for massive snowstorms. Big disasters, like tornadoes and hurricanes, are the kinds of things we see more in the Midwest and South.

But Hurricane Irene changed that. The eastern half of New York wasn’t expecting a deluge as the massive storm moved up the coast. But that’s what it got, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage. To make matters worse, one week later, remnants of tropical storm Lee soaked anew parts of southern New York, causing massive flooding and damage. The original $1 billion price tag is certain to rise.

Unfortunately, the federal Emergency Management Agency has less than $800 million for disaster aid until Oct. 1, when the government’s new budget year begins. That won’t even cover expenses in New York, much less the other states, such as Vermont, that were hard hit by Irene.

Financial help is needed now, and the Obama administration said the much-criticized debt deal allows the government to borrow money to help governments rebuild.

But Reed agrees with House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s contention that any disaster spending should be offset by budget cuts elsewhere.

New York and other states need money to clean up and rebuild now — not whenever Washington politicians are done with their brinkmanship and horse-trading.

Reed may be in lockstep with some of his more conservative members of the GOP, but several New York Republicans in the House say they won’t tie disaster aid to spending cuts.

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) told the New York Times that disaster relief is a “legitimate role of government” and shouldn’t be tied to spending reductions elsewhere.

Buerkle, like Reed, was elected with tea party support. But she’s demonstrating that times of crisis require action, not uncompromising political positions or blind loyalty to House leaders.

Reed’s allegiance should be to his own constituents and others in New York, who desperately need assistance, not inflexible Republican leaders in the House.

-- Messenger Post (N.Y.)