Late Thursday night, the House GOP took this whole debate over disaster relief funding to a new level, setting the stage for yet another government shutdown. The Republicans sent the Senate a “continuing resolution” that only offers emergency disaster relief funding if we agree to cut important green jobs programs. They hoped that Senate Democrats would go along with it because failure to pass a continuing resolution by Friday would force a government shutdown, and deny FEMA the funding it needs to help Illinois and other states recover from natural disasters.
If the story seems familiar, that’s because it is. We are now watching the third government shutdown movie of the year. It’s not surprising — it’s not even interesting anymore.
The Republicans want us to choose between saving 50,000 jobs and helping disaster-ravaged communities recover. We know that’s a false choice, and that is why the Senate defeated the measure.
Will you co-sign my open letter — along with 20,000 fellow DickDurbin.com community activists — urging the GOP to stop playing politics with disaster relief before this week’s government shutdown deadline?
Apparently, holding FEMA funding hostage isn’t enough for House Republicans anymore. They’re now threatening to shut down the entire federal government if they don’t get their way.
The American people are fed up. They are fed up with the constant brinksmanship, with forcing us to the precipice every few months, and with the nickel and diming of those who need help the most.
It’s time to stop playing politics with disaster aid.
It’s time to stop pushing our economy to the edge of the abyss.
It’s time for the House to put partisanship aside, fund the government, help those who have struggled through natural disasters, and let us focus again on getting the American people back to work.
Thanks for taking action against the GOP’s latest shameful attempt at high-stakes brinkmanship.
Begin original message:
From: Dick Durbin
Date: September 17, 2011, 10:15 AM CDT
In a year marked by a record number of natural disasters, it’s shocking that House and Senate Republicans think they can get away with playing politics with disaster relief.
Recently, they have even threatened to hold federal disaster relief hostage unless further spending cuts were made elsewhere in the budget.
Just a few days ago, Senate Republicans delayed the Senate from debating — from simply debating — a bill to provide disaster relief funding to devastated communities across the nation by staging yet another all-too-common filibuster.
Republicans have been all too willing to run up unprecedentedly high bills for millionaires’ tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but when it comes to actually protecting Americans at home, they throw up all sorts of roadblocks.
We can’t let them get away with this — and I need your help.
Over the past several months, we’ve seen an unusually high number of destructive floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and now, wildfires.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been on the ground to save lives and assist victims in many of these situations.
But now, FEMA’s funds are running dangerously low, forcing the agency to divert money from earlier relief efforts — such as the rebuilding of Midwestern towns struck by deadly tornadoes — to respond to Hurricane Irene’s aftermath.
In fact, it’s now unclear whether or not FEMA even has enough funds to help us recover from the severe storms and floods that hit both northern and southern Illinois and an unparalleled blizzard that hit Chicagoland earlier this year. While House Republicans play politics with disaster relief funding, the fates of communities around the state hang in the balance.
That’s just senseless — and we in Congress must act swiftly to ensure FEMA can respond appropriately when the next disaster hits.
When disaster strikes, victims need immediate attention. Waiting for help while Republicans pick budget fights makes no sense.
Thank you for your help,