The Senate will vote today on a House-passed continuing resolution that A) funds the government through Nov. 18, and B) allocates $3.65 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster relief. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) dislikes the bill because Democrats wanted nearly $7 billion for disaster relief, and the House bill offsets $1.1 billion of the $3.65 billion with spending cuts that Reid has described as “job-killing.”
“We should not have to kill jobs to provide disaster relief to people in need,” he told reporters last week. That’s interesting, given that Reid has in the past supported cuts to the very same programs targeted for offsets in the House bill.
Of the total spending offsets included in the House bill, roughly $1 billion comes from defunding a program that promotes fuel-efficiency in vehicles. The remaining $100 million is taken out of the Department of Energy loans programs that helped fund Solyndra. Cutting these programs, Reid and his Democratic colleagues insist, would “destroy jobs.”
But Reid and Senate Democrats have previously voted multiple times to cut a total of $3.5 billion from the same DOE loans program. In August 2009, the Democratic Senate passed a measure that diverted $2 billion from the program to fund an extension of the “Cash for Clunkers” rebate program (a great success). In August 2010, Democrats voted to rescind an additional $1.5 billion from the same program in order to
save teaching jobs bail out teachers’ unions.
So now that Republicans want to cut the program to fund a worthwhile, non-stimulative measure like disaster relief, it’s a “job destroyer.” Of course, Reid doesn’t seem terribly concerned by the 1,100 jobs (at Solyndra) that the program has already done away with.