Shutdown Watch: Lots Of Finger Pointing, Little Action


Last week I wondered if Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander was stepping down from Republican leadership because he wasn’t enough of an attack dog to make the rest of his party happy.  Well, it looks like I was wrong about that, as he is now one of the key leaders in the “Democrats want a shutdown” GOP cry.

Appearing on CNN, Alexander accused the Democrats of “game playing and chest thumping” when they refused to pass the House bill that would give the required FEMA disaster aid money — as long as multiple environmental and green energy programs were cut to cover the costs.  “He manufactured a crisis all week about disaster relief when there was no crisis. Everyone knows we’ll pay every penny of disaster aid that the president declares and FEMA certifies. The House settled on a bill that would do that and the Senate should have passed it.”

Meanwhile, Virginia Senator Mark Warner says that it’s the Tea Party House members who are so obsessed with their all or nothing agenda that they’re constantly willing to crash the government over it.  “There is a group, and I do believe it is centered in the House in terms of some of these tea party Republicans, who say on every issue, ‘We’re going to make this a make or break.’”

It’s true that the Tea Party Republicans held up the first House bill, voting it down along with House Democrats, although for totally different reasons — they said the bill didn’t cut enough spending to offset the disaster aid.  Once Speaker of the House John Boehner responded to them by providing even more cuts, they finally gave it the support necessary to pass the House.

How bad have the standoff fights started to make Washington look?  Even Tea Party spokesman and presidential candidate Herman Cain, fresh off a surprise straw poll win in Florida, thinks the party should just cool it and let the disaster aid pass.  “I would make sure that FEMA got the money it needed, and if I had to go find the offsets later, go find it later. Stop playing with people’s tragedies — these are real people we’re talking about.”

But there is a possibility that for once, the Democrats won’t just cave at the last moment and push through the GOP’s requests.  As Ezra Klein notes, the fallout from a shut down this time is much smaller than the last, and if they give in to Republican “fiscal brinksmanship…constant threats of shutdowns and defaults,” they may never have the ability to negotiate again.


Related Stories:

House Passes Bill Senate Will Veto, Then Runs Out of Town

Get Ready, We May Have Another Government Shutdown In The Works

GOP Says Hold Your Horses On Disaster Relief


Margaret C.
Margaret C6 years ago

Cain, figure out which side of your mouth you want to talk out of! And Boehner, I knew you were a nazi the first time I saw you!

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

Green Star to Jean W.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

Lies, lies, lies. That is all we get from the Repugs. If The Repugs are moving their mouth than you know that what is coming out is a lie.

Karen and Edwar O.
Karen and Ed O6 years ago

OMG, these people are such lying hypocrites.

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra R6 years ago

Amazing that Herman Cain should recognize the disaster victims as "real people". How very unrepublican!

Mary B.
Mary B6 years ago

Yeaaa, Jean W. You speak truth to power very well. I'd send you another green star but I"ve already sent one this week. Just wanted to let you know...

Ernie Miller
william Miller6 years ago


Jean W.
Jean Wall6 years ago

I don't suppose they'd dream of paying for disaster relief by cutting subsidies for immensely profitable industries like oil?
They don't respect us. They must know how these recurrent hostage crises are eroding faith in the Congress. They currently have a 12% approval rate.They couldn't possibly give a shit what the people think or for that matter what they need and pull this crap yet again.
Cough up the disaster relief .
The "small government" mantra is first rate dissembling. Hint: small government concentrates power in the hands of fewer people. These effers are already behaving like the gods of Olympus toying with mere mortals.
We need to stand up out here at the grass roots. Get on the horn to the Congress. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.

Sharon A.
Sharon A6 years ago

NO, this wasnt a Democrat ploy, it was a teapublican ploy to cut necessary programs. The teapublicans want to shut down vital environmental programs to fund disaster relief. This is so wrong.....disaster relief should and MUST be available at ALL times to ALL who need it!!! No politics, no partisan crap, just help the people who need help!!!

I'm sick of this game-playing by the congress....add your pet cause to the bill and refuse to pass it unless everyone lets you fund the "bridge to nowhere" or some such nonsense. NO, fund the disaster relief and work out the rest separately....they are NOT the same issue and dont belong together in the same argument!!

Cant they just concentrate on what is needed?? On the People?? I am so fed up with corporate *ss-kissing in government and the drive to make our corpocracy bigger.... Can't we stop this???

Joy Looney
Joy Looney6 years ago

So what's new? Finger pointing and blaming the "other" guy. That's why nothing gets done in Congress and this country is going to hell.