Editorial: Will politicians choose quick fixes or lasting solutions?

Editorial Board

Last week the United States faced another financial crisis. For many observers it appeared to be “part two” of the the debt ceiling crisis. There were a few key critical distinctions between the debates, but mostly Congress handled it in the same disappointing fashion.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency helps coordinate response to disasters, provide disaster assistance to states, and help individuals and businesses through recovery. It’s as non-partisan as you can get. Each side knows we need disaster aid, especially in a year such as this.

We had 19 tropical storms, three hurricanes and 1,276 tornadoes. In August alone, the Unites States had over 8,000 reported wildfires, and both Texas and Arizona have been ravaged by fires which destroyed thousands of homes. Through it all the FEMA has been burning through its cash to help the people in disaster.

FEMA had a $56,335,737 budget for the year, which ended a few weeks short. And, as expected, Congress couldn’t civilly agree on a course of action. Republicans wanted to give FEMA a billion dollar boost to carry it though the end of the year, but of course they couldn’t allow any increase of funding without equal cuts. Just as predictably, Democrats disagreed and the two parties butted heads over the issue.

It was just like the budget debate where the two parties refused to cooperate. Our political narrative equates compromise as corruption and promotes stubbornness, which has led our country to near catastrophe time and again. It wasn’t until midnight on Monday of this week that the two parties could even agree to put a Band-Aid on the bleeding FEMA.

Congress seems to like Band-Aids. They did it with the budget, agreeing to push the issue onto a “Super Committee” of the future, and rather than deal with the funding issues underlying FEMA they agree to extend the budget for a few weeks. Let the future Congress deal with the issues.

It does not matter, however, what party you affiliate with: Band-Aids are not the purpose of Congress. Their inability to compromise is toxic, and their delay creates festering infections. Instead of creating legislation for the issues, they’reĀ opposing it. Instead of solutions, Congress is creating problems. Our country needs solutions to revive us, and Band-Aids won’t hold us over any longer. They did it with health care insurance, the budget and now FEMA. Disasters happen everyday, and they cannot be predicted. What matters most is what you do when they occur.

So, what will Congress do with the disasters of the future, specially since these old ones are set to revive. Can they undergo the procedures they need to fix them, or will they attempt more patch work to prolong the crisis?