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Friday, September 23, 2011

Will Harry Reid And Senate Democrats Shut Government Down?

By Susan Duclos

After failing to pass a stopgap spending bill to keep government funded through November, House Republicans sweetened the pot for fiscal conservatives by adding spending cuts and finally passed the measure this morning with a 219-203 House vote. (Roll call here)

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is vowing to block the bill which would shut down the government if not passed by September 30, 2011.

Congress must pass a stopgap spending bill by Sept. 30 to avert a government shutdown. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to be on recess next week, adding to the urgency of reaching an agreement by the weekend.

Democrats opposed the GOP bill en masse because it partially offsets $3.65 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with a $1.5 billion cut to a separate Department of Energy manufacturing loan program.

“The bill the House will vote on tonight is not an honest effort at compromise. It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement Thursday night before the House vote.

Reid simply doesn't "get" that funds, no matter how noble the cause, need to be paid for, the money has to come from somewhere because the U.S. cannot continue to spend money we do not have and borrow more to pay the interest on the money we already owe.

The mentality we are seeing from Democratic politicians is evidenced by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)who appeared alongside Reid at a press conference and said "We will eventually pay for it, but we can argue about that later."

I have news for Mary... it is later.

We cannot, as a country, continue to spend money and put the discussion on where the money comes from off until later. We have been doing that for years and look at the mess we are in now.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) turns Reid's arguments back on Reid, now that the House has passed a stopgap measure and it funds FEMA and he publicly states the ball is in Reid's court now:

"We're intending that the money gets to FEMA and to disaster victims as they need it," Cantor said after the vote. "Harry Reid's political ploy is not going to work."

If Senate Democrats kill the House bill, "then I guess Harry Reid will have to bear the burden of denying disaster ... victims the money that they need," Cantor charged.

Oh... and despite all the rhetoric to the contrary about bowing to the far right or the Tea Party, the reason the first attempt in the House failed was "because it kept 2012 spending levels above the cap set by the House GOP budget." (The Hill)

If battling to stay within a budget is "bowing to" or "appeasing" conservatives, then let the bowing begin.