LANCASTER - Although tornado damage stretches across North Texas, Governor Rick Perry's spokeswoman said his aerial tour flew over only Lancaster. After looking over two homes and a church on the ground, Perry said he'll ask President Obama, whom Perry frequently criticizes for overspending, for federal disaster funds.
"Trust me, it won't be spending any time in a desk in Austin, it will go directly to administration," Perry said.
Perry's visit to Lancaster Thursday is part of a process that potentially leads to millions of federal disaster dollars. In Perry's view, that kind of federal spending is okay.
Perry critics, especially Democrats, say his position stands in sharp contrast to his comments during his failed presidential bid, when he called for deep tax and spending cuts for the federal government.
"You've got two choices: You either raise taxes, and in Washington D.C. they raise the debt ceiling, or you're going to make reductions in spending," Perry said on the campaign trail. "I've done that. I've got a track record as the governor of the 13th-largest economy in the world of cutting that spending."
Perry recently complained of the strings attached to federal Medicaid money for the women's health program. When the government cut off the money because Texas doesn't want Planned Parenthood clinics involved, Perry said the state will take over. Perhaps, essentially using federal block grant dollars instead.
With billions in the state's rainy day fund, Perry said he'll still pursue federal money for storm losses.
"There are state dollars being expended right now," Perry said. "And I guess the short answer to your question is, when Texans quit being required to send money to Washington D.C., we'll quit asking for any of it back."
The governor said when his request arrives, he expects the Obama White House to act quickly and send the money.