Thursday, July 23, 2009

Define “Emergency”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) thinks that it’s not a good idea to appropriate money off-budget every time we have an “emergency.”

Let’s agree that we’re going to have PAYGO enforcement—that we’re not going to cry ’emergency’ every time we have a Katrina, every time we have a tsunami, every time we have a need for extra spending, that we don’t go call for a special appropriation that allows us to circumvent the PAYGO rules.

So Hurricane Katrina wasn’t an emergency? It makes you wonder what constitutes an emergency to her.

To be fair, her point is that we need to spend money wisely and balancing a budget is a good thing. Ironically, though, it was the Republicans who whooped through President Bush’s funding for the war in Iraq that was billed as “emergency funding,” and Rep. Blackburn herself voted for the emergency appropriation after Katrina. And even if her logic makes sense, she needs a little coaching in how not to come across as an unfeeling and heartless Scrooge.