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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Insult to Injury

The state and local governments along the Gulf Coast that took such heavy damage from Katrina are going to get some money from the federal government to keep their public services in place for a while – or at least keep some of the employees paid. The money is coming as a loan, and it comes with a strange caveat.

It seems that they are not just expected to pay those loans back; the bill expressly forbids the loans to ever be forgiven.

If this didn’t sound so much like a bee in the Republican bonnet, I might not be writing about it this morning. I really detest partisanship for its own sake. For some reason, though, the GOP specifically insisted on this odd loan repayment language. They were so insistent, in fact, that several other attempts (by representatives other than Louisiana’s) were stomped on by the Repulican leaders.

According to

Democrats argued that the language would subject Gulf Coast communities to restrictions never before imposed on local governments who obtained federal loans to keep essential services following a disaster
What is the statement the Republicans are trying to make here? It not only baffles me, it makes me mad – not because someone would expect a loan to be repayed. That is a reasonable expectation. The GOPs insistance on a provision "that would prohibit the government from forgiving loans made under the proposal", though, is a metaphorical slap in the face.

Louisiana’s Senators had a public bicker about it, because apparently Sen. Vitter would not (or could not) push back against his fellow Republicans.
Vitter said the bill would not pass the House without the provision. Landrieu insisted that requiring repayment would be tantamount to Congress treating the Gulf Coast states "in some second-class fashion."
I have to agree with Sen. Landrieu here. Since the loan provisions are so bizarre and carry such a snub, I wonder whether the state and local governments shouldn’t shop the loan market more widely? There are other entities…