Congress Faces a Hurricane and a Cliff

November 13, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

It’s rare that you will see a document proudly signed by the leaders of both parties in the U.S. House, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Forty-four members of the U.S. House from Connecticut, New Jersey and New York sent a letter recently to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) discussing the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in their states. They acknowledged the quick response by President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and state and local governments, yet they noted that “recovery from this terrible tragedy will prove to be a lengthy and costly task.” They urged Congress to support additional funding to people and communities devastated by the storm.

One can understand why these representatives would come together in a show of support for their devastated communities. The pain and hardship caused by the hurricane is plainly evident for all to see. What isn’t as obvious is the potential hardships that we all could face due to the impending “fiscal cliff.” Is Congress as united in their bipartisan efforts to address the fiscal cliff as it is to help Hurricane Sandy victims? Hardly. It’s politics as usual.

For example, Rep. Boehner in a speech last week following Obama’s reelection said “the Republican majority in the House of Representatives stands ready to work with [Obama] to do what’s best for our country.” Yet in the same speech, he basically contradicted himself, stating that in order to garner Republican support for new revenues, Obama “must be willing to reduce spending and shore up the entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our debt. For purposes of forging a bipartisan agreement that begins to solve the problem, we’re willing to accept new revenue, under the right conditions.”

Could the “fiscal cliff” be an economic equivalent to Hurricane Sandy? I’d hate to find out. At what point do we get desperate enough to work together on this?

Let us know your concerns about the fiscal cliff or what Hurricane Sandy did to your grant programs.


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