Should the Government Shut Down Over FEMA Spending?
Your tax masters at work, ladies and gentlemen:
The House and Senate last week intended to pass a bill to keep the government funded through November 18 and provide emergency funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But Democrats and Republicans disagreed over whether it's necessary to cut funding for other programs to pay for the FEMA expenses, and they failed to pass the bill. Now, if Congress doesn't pass the spending bill by Sept. 30, the government would be forced to shutdown.
The Senate on Friday rejected the House version of the bill, which would have allocated about $1 trillion in government funding, including about $3.7 billion for FEMA disaster aid. The Democratic-led Senate voted against the House bill because it includes $1.6 billion in Republican-proposed spending cuts targeting the Department of Energy's Advanced technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program. The program gives loans to car companies to pay for things such as factory upgrades and the development of new, green, fuel efficient technology, and Democrats say the cuts would cost up to 10,000 jobs.
Things to note: We're broke as a country. If Congress can't find $3.7 billion in offsets for unexpected spending, then we're totally screwed. And note that as idiotic as the Dems are being, the Republicans are still $2.1 billion short in cuts to offset the FEMA dough.
Most of the coverage of this story has been about the politics—is it good for the GOP or the president/Dems if the government shuts down, even for a day? I don't really care about that. What I do know is that when you a government that hasn't passed a budget for the fiscal year that ends in a few days and there's no prospect for putting one together for the coming year, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. And explains perfectly why we're in this mess.
More on the absolute unreality of budget talks here.
Reason.tv on 2009's record-setting budget deficit: