Friday, September 23, 2011

GOP To Disaster Victims: Drop Dead

When historians look back at America over the three years following the historic 2008 presidential election among the patterns that will emerge is all of the once sacred cows that the Republican Party slayed at the altar of obstructionism.

They have called the president unpatriotic, some have questioned whether he is even an American while some have not so subtly attacked him for the color of his skin.

They have criticized the Federal Reserve for trying to bail out the economy.

They have chosen to twice shut down the federal government -- backing down only at the last minute -- rather than make a good faith effort to keep it running, and are on the verge of succeeding on the third try.

And they have scorned the honorable American tradition of providing prompt disaster aid to the victims of hurricanes, fires and earthquakes.

The death of that last sacred cow is perhaps the most egregious. Washington has always been there for these victims no questions asked, but Republicans are demanding that there be spending cuts to offset disaster aid.

The specter of a shutdown after Saturday loomed large after the Senate easily defeated a House spending bill on Friday.

The Senate voted 59-36 to set aside the bill, with a handful of conservative Republicans joining with Democrats. Democrats oppose the bill because they believe that it does not provide enough relief for victims of the never ending disasters this year -- including wildfires, a hurricane and an earthquake or two -- while the Republicans felt that their House colleagues had failed to cut deeply enough.

House Speaker John Boehner played hardball as House members left for a scheduled recess, stating that the only way to advance the legislation, which would replenish the nearly empty coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and finance the federal government through mid-November, would be for the Senate to capitulate and accept the House bill.

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