After the latest fight over spending, it's clear that Republicans and Democrats have drifted far apart. Will they ever get along?
Republicans and Democrats in Congress can't seem to agree on anything these days. Anything, as in the most elemental, basic definition of a government's relationship to its citizens. How basic? How about tax dollars for victims of natural disasters? The recent tug-of-war over disaster funding typifies the core differences and misunderstandings at the heart of so many dollars-and-cents divisions on Capitol Hill.
Republicans cannot understand why Democrats refused to offset at least some of the $3.65 billion in disaster assistance that they sought to provide last week. Republicans are focused on the blight of a $14.7 trillion federal debt and this year's projected $1.6 trillion deficit. Even GOP members from areas still recovering from horrific natural disasters say that it's time to economize.
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"We have to prioritize our needs versus our wants," said Rep. Jeffrey Landry, a tea party-inspired freshman whose 3rd District in Louisiana includes Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, both walloped by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "I came to Washington to reduce spending and cut wasteful programs."