GOP Hat Trick: Kill Jobs, Stiff Disaster Victims, & Shut Down the Government
On Wednesday, we reported on how Tea Party extremists within the House GOP caucus derailed the GOP leadership’s job-killing plan to fund disaster recovery efforts and keep the government running past Sept. 30 because it didn’t cut spending enough. Democrats, of course, also opposed the plan en masse because it would kill tens of thousands of American jobs by cutting a jobs program to pay for emergency disaster relief funds. Two key right-wing business groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, also announced their opposition to cutting the jobs program.
After the embarrassing defeat, Speaker Boehner added just $100 MILLION in additional cuts (from yet another clean energy jobs program) to the $1 TRILLION spending bill, which was otherwise identical to the one voted down Wednesday. This gimmick was enough to get 23 recalcitrant Tea Party Republicans to sell out their principles and the House narrowly passed the slightly revised job-killing plan just after midnight last night. Then, as it had earlier promised to do, the Senate today voted down the job-killing House plan, with seven Republicans joining all Democrats in opposing the measure.
Here’s a rundown of what’s a stake and how we can move forward.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN:
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund needs to be replenished immediately, as it will run out of money for any disaster relief efforts by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Its cash shortfall had already caused FEMA to put $387 MILLION in new and longer-term disaster recovery projects in states across the country on hold earlier this month.
- The government must be funded or it will shut down when the current funding bill runs out on Sept. 30.
WHAT EVERYONE AGREES ON: The amount of funding to keep the government open from Oct. 1 through Nov. 18, as overall funding levels for the 2012 Fiscal Year (which starts Oct. 1) were agreed to in the Budget Control Act (aka debt ceiling deal) signed by President Obama in August.
- Democrats and some Republicans believe that emergency disaster relief and recovery funding does not need to offset with spending cuts elsewhere.
- House Republican leaders, bowing to the Tea Party extremists in their caucus, are insisting that emergency disaster relief must be offset with spending cuts elsewhere, even if those cuts will kill tens of thousands of American jobs.
THE HOUSE GOP PLAN:
- Keeps the government open until Nov. 18.
- Provides $3.65 BILLION in emergency funding for disaster relief and recovery, partially offset by stealing $1.6 BILLION from two jobs program.
- Kills tens of thousands of American jobs by stealing $1.6 BILLION from two jobs programs.
THE COMPROMISE PLAN:
- Keeps the government open until Nov. 18.
- Provides $3.65 BILLION in emergency funding for disaster relief and recovery, not offset by job-killing spending cuts. This is a compromise from the bipartisan plan that passed the Senate 62-37 last week that would provide $6.9 BILLION in disaster relief and recovery funding.
- Does not kill American jobs.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Senate has scheduled a vote on the compromise plan on Monday at 5:30 p.m. If the compromise plan overcomes a Republican filibuster, the House could take it up immediately and keep the government running without killing jobs or letting the disaster relief fund run dry.
IN TWO SENTENCES: The latest plan from Tea Party extremists in the GOP will kill American jobs and the GOP’s political games also threaten to stiff disaster victims and shut down the government in the meantime. It’s time for Republican leaders to accept a compromise plan that keeps the government running and makes disaster victims whole without killing tens of thousands of American jobs.
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