The House and Senate are again involved in a budget impasse on the latest stop gap measure and this time the crux of the differences is a sad commentary that reveals what is truly wrong with Washington. The current bill passed in the Republican controlled House but was voted down today in the Democratic controlled Senate 59-36. The reason Democrats in both the House and Senate didn’t like it was because of a $3.67 billion disaster relief spending increase that was offset by budget cuts in other areas. The Democrats didn’t want to offset the budget increase with cuts so we can now say that they don’t subscribe to pay-as-you-go. This is truly startling and shows what our problem is in Washington.
$3.67 billion is a lot of money to me but to the US government it represents only 0.1% of the total expenditures for 2011. So this would be analogous to a family who makes $75,000 a year struggling to figure out how to pay for an emergency that costs $75. When faced with this problem, a vast majority of American families would cut out discretionary spending (such as dining out or a haircut) to pay for the emergency and then move on. It might take 5 minutes of deliberation but our paid representatives see this as impossible to overcome and resort to politics and blaming the other side for shutting down the government. It comes down to this – The Democrats in Congress are drug attics and they are addicted to our money.
But there is a side note to this Senate vote. If 59 senators voted against this bill that means Republicans had to vote against it as well. And sure enough 7 conservative Republicans voted against the House bill. It appears that the Republican senators who voted against it did so because the bill increased overall spending too much and they felt the bill didn’t go far enough to address our current budget woes. They were hoping for more budget cuts and a bill that focused on the longer term. While I support that, I don’t know if we’ll ever obtain that objective with the current mix of Democrats in both the House and Senate. Perhaps we should take small wins in the coming year and then go for larger wins once the Republicans control the House, Senate and White House.