With DC Fashion Week wrapping up yesterday, and Congress back in session, one thing is clear: federal government shutdowns are the new black. This time, the dysfunction is caused by disagreement over how to replenish the coffers of FEMA, whose resources have been stretched thin by God's anger/an active hurricane season…
The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a Democratic-sponsored measure to provide $3.65 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the disaster fund. But the bill is expected to fail because it does not include spending cuts demanded by Republicans.
Lawmakers expressed hope Sunday that they could reach a bipartisan agreement rather than face a repeat of the rancorous summer battle over raising the nation's debt ceiling. But negotiations are likely to continue until the 11th hour.
Since "Government Shuts-down Due to [Whatever]" is going to be an exciting fill-in-the-headline game for months to come, here's a handy guide to the latest edition of Why We Can't Have Nice Things:
How did the latest crisis begin? As Michele Bachmann jocularly explained, God sent a hurricane barreling along the Eastern seaboard as punishment for profligate government spending. Democrats responded by trying to authorize even more spending, so that FEMA could provide emergency relief to affected families while also supporting fire-ravaged Texas and tornado-tossed Missouri. To which House Majority Leader Eric Cantor responded, why would we want to further anger the Lord when we could offset emergency spending with cuts to Democratic priorities? And so Congress did its usual awesome job of doing nothing.
But Members of Congress are going to resolve this like adults, yes? You are hilarious! Senators Mark Warner and Lamar Alexander, help us set that special tone of hand-wringing about civility followed by childish recriminations…
Two veteran senators agreed Sunday morning that the latest budget standoff in Congress is not what the country needs, but the Democrat and Republican each made sure to point out that the potential government shutdown was the other party's fault…
To blame, in Warner's view: "A small group within the House, the Tea Party crowd."
Not quite, according to Alexander. "I'll give the Senate Democratic leader most of the credit," Alexander said. "He manufactured a crisis all week about disaster when there's no crisis."
So federal employees are going to be furloughed over what amounts to a rounding error in the budget? Maybe. A more likely possibility involves the Obama Administration using creative accounting to keep FEMA functioning through the end of this week, forestalling the crisis. Alternatively, enough Democrats or Republicans could cross party-lines to adopt a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded. For a month and a half.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Democrats, Eric Cantor, FEMA, House of Representatives, Lamar Alexander, Mark Warner, Natural Disasters, Republicans, Senate
The Onion looks into an issue that's been the subject of a lot of speculation lately: Is Sen. Mark Warner homeless?
"At first, I thought he was just burning the candle at both ends," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who noted that the unshaven Warner is always the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave the Capitol at night. "But then on Sunday, I dropped by to pick up a few things and found Mark asleep under a blanket of Washington Posts on the Senate floor."
"It never really crossed my mind before, but I think the poor guy might be homeless," Reid continued. "It would explain why he's always asking the other lawmakers if they're going to finish their lunch."…
Over the past few weeks, Warner has reportedly signed up to be placed only on Senate subcommittees that serve complimentary breakfast and coffee during meetings. Warner's behavior on the Senate floor has also changed as of late, with the legislator voting in favor of more comfortable benches in public parks, and adding several riders onto bills calling for "universal access to soup."
Personally, I think that working in Congress could be a fantastic stepping stone for homeless people to use to slowly get back to being productive members of society.
Tags: Harry Reid, House of Representatives, Mark Warner, Senate, The Onion
I don't know about you, but on a beautiful day like today, I really enjoy lying in the grass, staring up into the clouds and wondering What if…
But, since I've got a job, I usually just end up reading bullshit unfounded speculation on the Internet instead…
[If John Edwards had not run for president] Could Hillary Clinton have grabbed Edwards' loyalists and won early, stage-setting contests in Iowa, where Barack Obama emerged as a contender with a stunning win, or later, in the South Carolina primary?
Yes, says Mark Penn, Clinton's close campaign adviser and pollster. Penn has asserted that without Edwards on the ballot, voters would have taken a "fresh look" at Clinton.
Well, if Mark Penn says it, it must be true. Why, he's never proven himself to be wrong-headed, duplicitous or willfully ignorant before. That guy is a straight shooter if ever I did see one.
But, just for the sake of adding length to this post, let's see what somebody who knows what he's talking about has to say. What does Mark Blumenthal from Pollster.com have to say about it?
Mark Blumenthal from Pollster.com: "The most compelling evidence concerns where Edwards' support might have gone, had he withdrawn once the campaign had gotten under way in early 2007: polls showing that Edwards supporters preferred Obama to Clinton as their second choice in Iowa (as early as May 2007) and in New Hampshire (a few days before the primary)…
"Edwards started the race as the leading candidate in Iowa. Had Edwards withdrawn in late 2006, others who were considering the race at about that time — Tom Vilsack, Evan Bayh, Mark Warner — might have gotten in."
Yeah. Edwards' campaign was the only thing standing between Evan Bayh and the White House.
He must be very bitter.
Tags: Barack Obama, Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, Iowa, John Edwards, Mark Penn, Mark Warner, Primaries, South Carolina, Tom Vilsack
For those of you worried that the ascendant Democrats would usher in a new era of ordinary Americans governing in Washington, you have nothing to fear! There are plenty of new out-of-touch plutocrats set to take office.
* New Virginia Senator Mark Warner, who founded Nextel and is worth $91 million
* New Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis, who apparently owns $17 million worth of cattle
* New Idaho Senator Jim Risch, who is taking Larry Craig's seat and is worth $20 million (most of which will be spent on industrial-strength disinfectant for that seat)
In case you were wondering, none of these freshman lawmakers will even come close to topping the reigning king of Washington wealth.
What, you really don't know who that is? John Kerry, of course! He's worth at a minimum $231 million, and that doesn't include anything held solely in Theresa Heinz-Kerry's name.
It also doesn't include the millions he spent on advertising in the Chicago media market promoting himself as a candidate for Secretary of State.
Tags: House of Representatives, Idaho, Illinois, John Kerry, Larry Craig, Mark Warner, Massachusetts, Obama Administration, Senate, Virginia, Wyoming
Let's face it, Virginia. Your governor, Tim Kaine, is a little… well… sane. I mean he's a really great guy. He's done wonders for the state budget. But why isn't he on MSNBC screaming at Chris Matthews? Why isn't he on the Daily Show, bewildering the hell out of Jon Stewart? Why isn't he riding a mechanical bull into the wee hours of the night?
Virginia, what you need is a healthy dose of Terry McAuliffe…
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe filed papers Monday necessary to run for governor in Virginia next year. McAuliffe established his campaign committee, Friends of Terry McAuliffe, with the State Board of Elections and will tour Virginia for the next 60 days before making his candidacy certain…
A native of upstate New York, McAuliffe, 51, has lived in Virginia for about 17 years. He lives in the Washington, D.C., suburb of McLean.
Interesting fact about McAuliffe: He's not very good at winning elections. The Democrats lost seats in Congress throughout his term as DNC Chair. He couldn't get John Kerry into the Oval Office. And his candidate for president lost her primary, although it's possible they haven't told that to Terry yet.
But you'd better believe he'll stir things up in Virginia. Whether downing shots with Joe Scarborough or hosting visits from Pope Hillary Clinton, a Governor McAuliffe will make Tim Kaine seem as boring as his successor, Mark Warner.
Well, actually that's a bit harsh. How about only as boring as a monotone recitation of The Iliad in the original Ancient Greek with pauses for the earth's crust to harden?
Tags: Hillary Clinton, Mark Warner, Terry McAuliffe, Tim Kaine, Virginia