Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill...

The government might just get shut down... AGAIN!

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had an emergency conference with President Obama this morning to try to reach some kind of accord on the present fiscal year’s budget, but emerged with no agreement. In fact, with only three and a half days left on the clock, they seem to be moving further apart.

It seemed, at the start of the week, as if Democrats and Republicans had at least agreed upon a number -- $33 billion -- to cut from spending, if not how and where they would meet that goal. But Boehner now appears to be backing away from that agreement.

So Congressional Republicans are throwing a temper tantrum... And we're the ones who will suffer for it should no agreement be reached within the next 48 hours.

And guess what this means? Our troops protecting our country here and abroad won't get paid for their brave work. And 70,000 children around the world will die for lack of food and health care aid. And America will be more at risk because we won't be properly prepared if/when the next disaster hits. All in all, we the people will suffer immensely because the Republicans are throwing this temper tantrum.

And why are they throwing this temper tantrum? Oh, they just want to waste our tax dollars!

[... A] closer examination of the at least 81 riders [to HR 1, the federal budget bill] from OMB Watch reveals that many would have the opposite of the GOP’s intended effect and actually increase federal spending. For instance, a CBO analysis of Sec. 4017 of H.R. 1 — which would strip funding for any provisions in the Affordable Care Act — argues that partially defunding the law increases costs “by $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2012 and by smaller amounts in each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2021.” The same may be true for the following riders:

Sec. 4013 — Prohibits funds to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America: Planned parenthood provides services more efficiently and each dollar spent on contraception saves taxpayers multiple dollars down the line. For instance, it’s estimated that pushing contraceptive care patients from Planned Parenthood to other clinics would “cost the government an additional $174 million a year.”

Sec. 1591 — Prohibits funding for needle exchange programs: As an example, the cost to prevent a single HIV infection by needle exchange “has been calculated at $4,000 to $12,000, considerably less than the estimated $190,000 (listed in 1997 dollars) medical costs of treating a person infected with HIV.”

Sec. 4020 — Prohibits funds to take any action to effect or implement the disestablishment, closure or realignment of the US Joint Forces Command: Closing the Joint Forces Command, which “employs more contractors than troops” and which Defense Secretary Gates says is no longer necessary, could save up to $240 million per year.

Sec. 4051 — Prohibits funds for implementing a provision specific to the State of Texas in the “Education Job Fund”: This provision prevents Texas from collecting money from the education jobs bill passed last year unless it maintains its own rate of current education funding. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has previously stuck federal education money into his state’s Rainy Day Fund. Blocking the provision amounts to giving Texas more than $800 million with no oversight.

Sec. 4012 — Bans funding for the Department of Education regulations on Gainful Employment: These regulations would restrict federal funding for subprime schools, many of which make 90 percent of their revenue from the federal government, while accounting for nearly half of student loan defaults.

[Emphasis mine.]

See that? Republicans are whining about "wasteful spending", yet their proposed budget includes a hell of a lot of wasteful spending! And if the federal government is forced into shutdown, there will be even more costs associated with all the mayhem of so many people forced into furlough and so many departments and essential services closed.

So we have 48 hours to wait and see if Congress and President Obama can agree on a budget. Obama has already said he wants a fair deal, but let's see if the GOP really wants to drive us all over the edge.

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