This week, after continually claiming that they wouldn’t hold disaster aid hostage for budget cuts, the House GOP did just that, voting down a continuing resolution that included the aid, and only approving it after $100 million more in cuts were added to the package.
House Republicans then turned around and blamed Senate Democrats for holding disaster aid hostage, with a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) saying “any political games from Senate Dems will only delay FEMA money that disaster victims desperately need.” Fox pundit Brit Hume picked up on this theme today on Fox News Sunday:
HUME: Let’s just take look at this latest skirmish. You need a continuing resolution to keep the government open and there’s a need for some relief funding because it’s almost been exhausted. So the Republicans pass a bill that has the disaster relief funding in it, to the tune of several billion dollars and they pay for it with cuts in green jobs funding. Well, green job funding ought to be by now a very low priority given the history of it and the fact that its utterly failed to produce meaningful jobs.
They sent it to the Senate. What does the Senate do? The Senate blocks it and then does, so far, nothing. Now, it may be that with the media coverage and the political statements that will be made about this, that if the government shuts down the Republicans will get the blame. But I ask you in this: who’s being responsible? And who’s playing politics?
The only problem with this storyline developed by the GOP and its friends at Fox News? On September 15, the Senate passed a bill containing $7 billion in disaster aid. The bipartisan 62–37 vote took place days before the House ever got around to advancing its own package.
The government’s funding runs out on Friday, so the prospect of another government shutdown is looming. But at the moment, the right seems more interested in trying to pretend that the Senate has not passed something that it most certainly has.