Commentary: Don't skimp on rebuilding Joplin, Mo.

The people of Joplin need help in rebuilding their lives. As Kansas Citians have both a tradition of generosity and plentiful options for charitable giving, the likelihood is high that this city will do its share.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army are seeking money to support relief efforts. Heart to Heart International is seeking medical volunteers and help in putting together hygiene kits. Area businesses and churches are looking to help, as well.

But it hardly requires an expert to behold the devastation in Joplin and see that, while charitable resources are essential, private donors will not be able to fund all that is needed. Joplin needs new school buildings, a new power grid, massive work on its hospital. And that’s only the beginning.

This brings us to a rather shameful debate now taking place in, of course, Congress.

To its credit, a key House panel has approved an additional $1 billion in federal relief money to respond to a spring of natural disasters. But as soon as cries for help were heard, lawmakers pounced on the chance to make partisan points.

House Republicans are starting to demand that disaster relief funds be balanced with cuts in other areas of federal spending, essentially using human tragedy to advance their political agenda. One suggestion is that we should cut a program encouraging the production of more fuel efficient cars, a program brought about by economic and long-term national security concerns.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.kansascity.com.