"The basic function of the federal government is to respond to national disasters just like Hurricane Katrina."What is this all about? The BASIC FUNCTION of the federal government is to respond to national disasters?
Maybe we need to look closely at the language spoken by politicians. I suppose by "federal government" he could mean the combined system of state, local, and national government. If so, then perhaps we could sign on to this assertion. On the other hand, neither the President nor the Congress is responsible for the entire system of state, local, and national government. I suspect Senator Salazar is really saying he thinks the basic function of our national government, and therefore of Congress, is to respond to national disasters. And, this assertion I think is false. I suggest the basic function of the federal government is "to provide for the common Defense" (to borrow a phrase from the Constitution). I've read Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution to no avail. I do not find there that Congress has the power to respond to disasters resulting from hurricanes.
And, that brings up a second interesting aspect of Senator Salazar's assertion. Note that he uses the term NATIONAL DISASTER, and not the term NATURAL DISASTER. Of course, a hurricane can result in a natural disaster, but I'm not really clear on why we have seen a national disaster. Using the word "national" seems to suggest damage that is nation wide. The hurricane leads to a great many individual disasters because of damaged property and lost lives. It even causes damage to city and state government infrastructure and services. But, it seems to me this is really not accurately discribed as "national." In contrast, the attacks of 9/11 were attacks on this nation of citizens, and is truly a NATIONAL disaster. Of course, responding to such national disasters does seem to be the basic function of our national government. I think it is stretching way too far to think the basic function of our national government is to respond to natural disasters.