Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Senate Democrats: Leader Harry Reid- 'GOP Games Put Families Affected by Natural Disaster at Risk'

Source:Senate Democrats- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat, Nevada)

"Nevada Senator Harry Reid calls on Republicans to support funding for FEMA. Without Republican support, Reid says the agency tasked with helping disaster-struck communities across the country get back on their feet will be out of luck." 

I heard Senator Mary Landrieu (Democrat from Louisiana) last week on the Senate floor say something to the effect that the Federal Government can't plan for disasters. Meaning that they can't budget for them and put money aside to deal with them. Now if I didn't care I would've laughed at that statement, because America gets natural disasters every year. That comes from being as huge of a country as we are and the area that we are located in. We are prone to just about every natural disaster the world knows about. We get them every year and we have a general idea of the amount of damage they do and how much it costs to clean them up. 

This idea (or joke) that the Federal Government can't plan ahead for these disasters, is bogus. (To be overly generous) And sounds like to me an excuse for not planning ahead. 

The Federal Government could either put money aside, prioritizing, cutting back on things you don't need or need as much or finding new revenue. When you don't prioritize, you don't have priorities. In other words: when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. When everything is important and then nothing is important. 

The Federal Government has moved past prioritizing and has now moved to budgeting. (If you want to call it that) It's actually appropriating, budgeting means putting together a budget: "This is what we need to do, this is the money that we have, if we don't have enough money to cover what we need to do. Then we cut back on things we don't need or we find new revenue." This is how responsible people budget. Appropriating is just approving money to spend on something whether you have the money or not. 

 I don't agree with the House GOP Leadership on everything. (You don't say. Thanks for the tip, Captain Obvious.) Actually, it's rare when I agree with them on anything. But their basic message on disaster relief is sound, that we should help the victims of these storms and fund FEMA to do that in the short-term, but at the same time, we should find a way to pay for our disaster relief by cutting back on things we don't need or already have plenty of funding. Or raising new revenue to pay for the disaster relief. And there are plenty of areas that we can cut back on that wouldn't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve to be hurt or can raise revenue in areas that wouldn't hit anyone that can't afford to get hurt. 

Congress used to pass what's called a continuing resolution (both in the House and Senate) and they would come together and pass one, which lays out how much money the Federal Government can spend. And advises the Appropriation Committees on where to spend that money in the Federal Government. And then the Appropriations Committee would figure how to appropriate the money that the Budget Committees said they could spend. This system worked pretty well and we should get back to it.

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