Even efforts to provide emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are sparking partisan rancor in the U. S. Senate.
The Senate's been debating for two days a $59 billion plan to provide funds for the wars, as well as money to help victims of Haiti hurricane and to help deal with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
But some Republicans want to pay for the funding--usually not done for emergencies--by cutting the budgets of members of Congress by $100 million, disposing of unused government property, which would save an estimated $15 billion, and rescinding unspent and uncommitted federal funds, a potential $45 billion saving.
Another plan includes freezing federal pay for a year, a $2.6 billion savings, eliminating non-essential government travel, cutting back on printing government documents, and other initiatives.
Chief sponsors are Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and John McCain, R-Ariz. "Designating war spending as an unforeseen emergency year after year is a farce that is designed to help politicians avoid hard budget choices," Coburn said.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., reminded Republicans that during the Bush administration, war emergency funding was not paid for.
"Members who voted to send our troops into harm's way and never raised a fuss about paying for the war under President Bush are now trying to score political points," Reed said. "They aren't looking to make hard choices, they are looking to make campaign commercials."
Fiinal votes are expected by the end of the week.