TheDC Morning: FEMA forgets about half a billion in misspent money

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) House Republicans have not announced what they would cut from budget if they had power to cut budget — “House Republican leaders are so far not specifying which programs would bear the brunt of budget cutting, only what would escape it: spending for the military, domestic security and veterans,” reports the New York Times. “The reductions that would be required in the remaining federal programs, including education and transportation, would be so deep — roughly 20 percent on average — that Senate Republicans have not joined the $100 billion pledge that House Republicans, led by the incoming speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, made to voters before November’s midterm elections.” Even with security/defense/old people/catfood cuts off the table, there are still a few agencies that could stand to lose some weight: FCC, both DoE’s, FDA, IRS, NASA, &c. We could go on, but why bother? “Even if adopted by the House, the Republicans’ budget is unlikely to be enacted in anything like the scale they envision, since Democrats retain a majority in the Senate and President Obama could veto annual appropriations bills making the reductions.”

2.) Who is Michael Steele? — Who cares? Discovering the essence of RNC Chairman Michael Steele is no longer a priority after Monday’s RNC debate, hosted by The Daily Caller and Americans for Tax Reform. “Steele did better in the debate than many expected, but was nonetheless mostly an afterthought,” writes The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward. “Almost every candidate made some mention of the RNC’s financial woes under Steele, which has left it badly in debt. The most specific critiques came when Tucker Carlson asked Steele whether he made the right decision in not funding the traditional 72 hour Get-Out-The-Vote program in the fall campaign’s final days.” While Steele claimed that what he did saved the RNC money, his opponents pointed out that the RNC is many millions of dollars in the hole.

3.) Barack Obama was against raising the debt ceiling before he was for it — In case you missed the kerfuffle, stand-up comedian and erstwhile economist Austan Goolsbee claimed Sunday on “This Week” that congressional Republicans were “playing chicken” with the United States’ obligations by grumbling about the national debt. Goolsbee then accused Republicans of cheering on the largest government default in human history, again, for grumbling. Irony of ironies, Goolsbee’s boss once did a little grumbling of his own: “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.” It seems Senator Obama was a more honest and enlightened fellow than is President Obama.

4.) FEMA forgets about half a billion in misspent money — Since 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has mistakenly paid out $643 million to survivors of Hurricane Katrina as a result of “fraud, FEMA errors or other mistakes”. Would you believe that the agency has failed to collect that money, despite an order from a judge? “The improper payments have gone uncollected for more than three years because FEMA hasn’t given its final approval to a new process for recovering the money, auditors found in a report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general’s office,” reports the AP. “A new process for recovering improper payments has been awaiting the approval of FEMA’s administrator since late 2008. Current Administrator Craig Fugate was confirmed by the Senate in May 2009.” That money is gone, y’all.

5.) Washingtonians protest bag checks — “Members of the public spoke out against Metro’s decision to start random bag inspections, with speaker after speaker condemning the initiative at a meeting held by the Metro Riders’ Advisory Council on Monday evening,” reports the Washington Post. “In a string of one-minute statements in the public comment period of the Riders’ Advisory Council (RAC) meeting, virtually every speaker called the searches unconstitutional, invasive and ineffective – arguing they could create a false sense of security and aid terrorists. Speakers urged Metro to halt the practice.” The bag checks were instituted by D.C.’s metro agency after the FBI convinced a Muslim man to draw up plans for bombing the transit system.

6.) George Will is a RINO — “There is one person, high in the polls, Sarah Palin, who cannot be elected president because she cannot compete where elections are decided,” George Will said Sunday during a career-ending appearance. Will went on to praise Mitch Daniels, most likely because Daniels has not quit his job as governor. “I think that Americans often vote for the opposite of what has disappointed them,” Will said when asked about the potential candidacy of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2012. “If they’re disappointed with Mr. Obama, then a short, balding, unimpressive, uncharismatic [but] competent governor might be just the thing for them.”