FEMA is officially broke
Just like the rest of us.
On Monday night, Senate Democrats made their latest move in the political battle to continue funding the agency by passing a short term budget deal to continue funding the government until early next week.
It came after the Senate blocked a House GOP bill that held the overall level of government spending steady while increasing FEMA emergency relief spending in the wake of recent environmental disasters such as Hurricane Irene.
The vote Monday night, which passed the Senate 79-12, was the latest development in a media battle waged by both sides this weekend and captured on conservative talk radio.
Speaking on Larry Kudlow’s weekly Saturday radio program, Illinois Congressman Peter Roskam, the Chief Deputy House Whip, defended House Republicans from Democrat protests and slammed the Senate for moving too slowly on what was a relatively small piece of legislation.
“Look there is no reason for this logjam Larry, absolutely none. The House did its work this week, the House increased the funding for the disaster relief to take care of folks…the House did an unusual thing, and that was to find the offsets and to pay for the increase in funding… It’s a six week stopgap measure at the levels that were agreed to during the debt ceiling debate. This is not new ground. This is not a new adventure. This is not a new conflict at all. This is – let’s meet the goal that we agreed to just a matter of several weeks ago,” Roskam asserted.
“What the House did, it said look there is a fund that was complicit in the Solyndra disaster – lets go there to pay for the disaster victims,” which would maintain the spending levels agreed to during the debt crisis negotiations.
The congressman continued, “I think the best discussion of it came on the House floor when Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart said you know…we’re calling this waste, in other countries they call it corruption. Whatever it is, it ought not be funded and lets use that fund and pay for what everybody agrees [on]– and I mean all across the political spectrum – victims of catastrophes need help, lets help them. And here’s the remedy to move forward.”
The issue was also raised while Don Wade and Roma spoke with Fox New anchor Bret Baier about the Department of Energy’s funding of Obama’s green jobs agenda on their morning radio program. “We’re learning of so many disasters within the DOE project – the whole project – so it ties with [democrats] threatening a government shutdown because they didn’t like what passed over from the House to the Senate.” Roma began.
“Yeah they were going to offset less than half of the $3.65 billion that was supposed to go for FEMA disaster relief. They were going to offset it with cutting spending [on] the green jobs. Well, we’re going to see how that goes today I guess,” Don elaborated.
“Yeah, and I don’t think it is going to go far,” the Fox News anchor responded. “And so you have this battle that is ensuing. Now it is tougher and tougher for the Democratic Senate to defend the projects that have not come to fruition and are raising eyebrows – especially in the wake of Solyndra and other projects like it.”
While the Senate continuing resolution that passed Monday night would fund the government for several days, the House bill funds government agencies until November 18th. In addition, the Senate version blocked all cuts to the Obama administration’s green energy initiatives.
Roskam’s interview with Larry Kudlow proved to be a harbinger of a larger media battle ahead. The Senate’s passage of the bill Monday night will likely be accompanied by an effort by Democrats to shift attention (and the burden of responsibility) back to the GOP-controlled House. In contrast, House Republicans will attempt to present the image of Senate Democrats as delaying FEMA funding for disaster victims in the name of shielding scandal-tarred party pet projects.
The media battle is likely to play out throughout the week, though which side has the advantage in the PR war remains unclear.
A free podcast of Don Wade & Roma’s September 26th interview with Bret Baier is available here
A free podcast of Larry Kudlow’s complete radio program, including his September 25th interview with Congressman Peter Roskam, is available here