Government Shutdown Averted to at Least October 1, or Maybe October 4.

So the latest threat of a federal government shutdown - this one over increasing FEMA spending at the expense of something else - has apparently passed for a while. Because FEMA looked under the couch cushions and realized it can probably get by until the end of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30. That means that a spending bill that was stuck on this issue was passed. Sort of.

Last week, FEMA officials said they expected funds to run out by Tuesday. By Monday, they had changed course and said the $114 million remaining in the Disaster Relief Fund would be enough.

“It’s important to remember that these are only estimates and the fund fluctuates due to a number of factors that are beyond our control, including the number of additional disaster survivors who register for assistance, as well as additional survivors that become eligible for assistance,” said a FEMA spokesman in an e-mail. “It’s also important to remember that this estimate assumes that no new disasters strike between now and when the fund may reach zero.”

Whew. There was much rejoicing among senators who otherwise were facing the dread prospect of coming up with so

me way of trimming as little as $1.6 billion from something else in order to pass a spending bill that would have covered more funding for FEMA. Here's the overcooked human egg noodle and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):

Senators accepted the news gratefully.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky called the agreement “a reasonable way to keep government operational.”

But, he added, the Republican principle that “before we spend taxpayers money we should have a real accounting of what’s actually needed” is still on the table.

And here's Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a typical understatement and absolutely Costanzanian "jerk-store" line:

“Had we agreed to what the House wanted to do, the next time would people say you had to cut education before you help the earthquake victims,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York at a press briefing after the vote.

Zing!

But before any of us thinks this story is done, chew on this:

The Senate passed the spending bill, 79 to 12, but with the House in recess and out of Washington, some procedural hurdles remain. To make the Oct. 1 deadline, the House can hold a voice vote in a pro forma session this week – a move that would not require all House members to return to Washington.

But that will extend the government-shutdown deadline only to Oct. 4. To fund government through Nov. 18 will require a vote of the full House when it returns next week. Reports suggest that House leaders are already throwing their support behind the bill.

More here. So let's check back next week and see what's up, right?

This is Greek-level style incompetence. It is not about partisanship or the harsh new tone of politics or anything like that. To pretend that the federal government can't pass budgets is to ignore the fact that they are not presenting budgets for votes in the first place, especially in the hallowed hall of the Senate, where the budget chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has manifestly failed to do his job for at least the past couple of years. He's supposed to drag some sort of carcass of a budget across something like a finish line, and he hasn't. He's got his excuses why the dog ate his budget but the plain fact is that he completely blew his April 1 deadline for getting a resolution in play. The president put a budget out and so did the House Republicans. Conrad gave a speech. On July 11.

If the government can keep spending absent bipartisan chumminess, they should be able and willing to come up with some sort of plan that adds even the smallest amount of stability to just how much that's going to be.

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  • Alan Kellogg||

    What, we were running out of ways to creatively steal from our progeny?

  • The Other Kevin||

    Incompetence is right. Let's not forget that in the first 2 years of the Obama administration, they should have passed 2 or possibly 3 budgets, and could have done so without any Republican support. They passed exactly 0. Now they are blaming the Tea Party for all this.

    That infuriates me, as does the notion that the government is on a shoestring budget and any cuts whatsoever will cause morsels of food to be taken from the mouths of the poor and defenseless. And so many people still buy that bullshit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Any cut in government means someone doesn't get a check.
    It could be an entitlement check, a government paycheck, a contractor paycheck, or a vendor paycheck.
    But someone's not getting a check and they're not going to be happy.
    So nothing gets cut.

  • Mike M.||

    No, it's not "incompetence". The refusal to pass a budget was a deliberate tactical decision the democrats made a while ago.

    It's only incompetent in the sense that the strategy has been a dismal failure for them politically.

  • ||

    The refusal to pass a budget was a deliberate tactical decision the democrats made a while ago.

    Exactly. Continuing resolutions lock in the huge increase in "one-time emergency" stimulus spending. Budgets would open it up to debate.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Yeah, well, I slept with your wife.

  • Sparky||

    Didn't you hear? His wife is in a coma. Nice going. Jerk.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    I NO SEE PROBLEM

  • Jeff P||

    Which will happen first: Gov't shutdown or rescheduled rapture?

  • teh rael o2||

    rapture reinforces the establishment clause !

  • ||

    I still wonder how anybody can look at these fiascos and still assert that government can run health care. Fuck, can you imagine being in the hospital under "single payer" while this kind of nonsense is going on?

  • teh rael o2||

    insurance regs aint new

  • ||

    This comment isn't about "insurance regs". This is about the "single payer" system advocated by progressives. Do try to keep up.

  • OO||

    any single payer risk pool would be managed privately...subject to insurance regs. thx for playing

  • cynical||

    Do you have any idea what "single payer" actually means? Here's a clue: what does the word "single" mean? Now, how might that relate to the number of payers in the system?

  • twenty-something||

    So let me get this straight, progressives don't want the government to run health care anymore?

    Instead, they want to give one private corporation a monopoly over insurance coverage for the entire country?

    What, communism wasn't enough, ya'll decided to finally go full-blown fascist?

  • MJ||

  • ||

    How DARE you question the integrity of our enlightened leaders!

  • ||

    How DARE you question the integrity of our enlightened leaders!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    FEMA writes checks. That's all they do. I'm wondering if they're getting by until Friday by kiting checks.

  • fish||

    Au Contraire...they also buy defective trailers and hand out gift cards that can be used at strip clubs.

  • sarcasmic||

    No. That's not all they do. They also employ thousands of bureaucrats.
    They'll quit writing checks before they'll lay off a single employee, even if it means the employees sleep at their desks all day.

  • fish||

    ....even if it means the employees sleep at their desks all day.

    As opposed to what?

  • sarcasmic||

    It's funny I went to this federal office in a customer support role one time, and the guy who I was supposed to meet was literally sound asleep at his desk. The people in the neighboring cubes didn't notice because they too were sound asleep. I must have made a noise or something because dude awoke with a jolt. Acting like nothing happened we had our meeting, and his head was back on his desk before I had stood up to leave.

    Tax dollars at work.

  • fish||

    I suppose it's probably more cost effective that they sleep as opposed to spending more than their wages and benefits already cost.

    Good work if you can get it. /snark

  • ||

    Why can't H&R have political cartoons which are actually funny, such as the Dave Granlund cartoon accompanying this article?

  • Ice Nine||

    What do you think Schumer's cup size is?

  • Sparky||

    He could probably squeeze into a B.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    B cups.

  • Ska||

    42 A

    *BAAAARRRRRFFFFF*

  • ||

    Shaved or unshaved? It makes more of difference than you think.

  • ||

    I shave. It gives me the appearance of an additional 6 inches.

  • Mainer||

    SF...your mind is a terrible thing.

  • fish||

    Frankly that the thought crossed your mind raises serious questions about your sanity.....!

  • TRTB||

    Who?! Who doesn't want to wear the ribbon?!

  • Mike M.||

    the budget chairman Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has manifestly failed to do his job for at least the past couple of years.

    Conrad actually isn't that bad a guy for a democrat.

    Once again, this is a deliberate strategy being done totally at the behest of Harry Reid, and possibly even Obama himself. Conrad isn't to blame at all.

  • Sparky||

    Is that a hint of: "Congress may be bad, but MY guy is one of the good ones"?

  • Mike M.||

    Nope. I don't live anywhere even close to North Dakota.

  • Sparky||

    If his job is to present a budget and he doesn't do that then it is his fault. You know who else was just doing what they were told?

  • Bill and Marty in the morning!||

    Conrad actually isn't that bad a guy for a democrat.

    DON"T PRAISE THE MACHINE.

  • ||

    This country is not broke; we still have plenty of checks left.

  • ||

    Did Chuck Schumer get a boob job?

  • Faaaaabulous||

    Pink shirt, beige pants, and rainbow necklace. Must be mentally ill. Even the most aloof Mensan-level engineers dress better than that.

  • Mainer||

    Moooobs !

  • ||

    Flower Pants Girl! I wonder if she likes PeanutButter.

  • ||

    Why should congress ever bother with a budget anyhow? Just spend whatever you want. No budget required. Any budgetary argle bargle just spooks the markets. Just keep spending money. That will make everything alright again.

  • Nike Dunk High Women||

    thanks

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