Update at 6 p.m. Friday:
FEMA has reversed this policy and will now issue flood policies during the shutdown.
Original item at 11:47 a.m. Friday:
So here’s a news flash for you. You partially shut down the government, the government is going to be partially shut down. And not just the parts you don’t care about.
This apparently came as quite the surprise to Louisiana officials, including at least one major figure who played a role in the year-end stalemate between the House and the Senate. Despite a preliminary agreement to pass a spending measure before Christmas, President Donald Trump decided at the last minute that he wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t include $5 billion for a border wall. The House sided with him, knowing the votes weren’t there in the Senate, and so here we are.
That “here” includes lots of pain for federal workers who don’t know when they’ll get paid again, even though they’re the ones who’ve done their jobs. Federal employees will likely get back pay, eventually, but contractors such as janitors and food service workers may not. This much everyone knew going in.
And it turns out it also includes pain for Louisianans with expiring flood insurance policies and those hoping to close on real estate purchases, because FEMA isn’t issuing new policies during the shutdown. The irony is that, in the mad dash toward the end of the year, Congress had actually passed a measure to keep the program from expiring in order to avert just this situation.
Among those calling on FEMA to change its tune are Gov. John Bel Edwards and U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy. Fair enough. The governor obviously had nothing to do with it, and the senators’ votes weren’t decisive.
Not so for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, whose outrage carries is own irony.
Scalise is the House’s chief vote counter, and has boasted of rallying support for the Trump ultimatum that led to the shutdown.
“Over the last week, Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) repeatedly and falsely claimed House Republicans did not have enough votes to fund a border wall, but with a strong vote yesterday evening, Republicans proved they stand with the American people and for keeping our nation safe,” Scalise said in a news release after the House sided with Trump.
I’m guessing that he’s got a few constituents who’d feel safer knowing they’re covered in a flood.