As the world anxiously watches Europe's crisis, another legislative body is struggling to get its act together: U.S. Congress.
Late Monday, the Senate approved a short-term funding bill that will stop a shutdown of the federal government. House Republicans have vowed not to block the action, in which, as Politico reports, "Democrats ended up agreeing to funding levels for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) lower than they preferred, but the final deal ended up sparing budget cuts to energy programs that their party had vowed to protect."
The deal avoids a shutdown of government services — vital and otherwise — but the brouhaha over the budget, so soon after the debt-ceiling debacle, shows that government "is not working," according to Ben White, Politico's Wall Street Correspondent and author of the Morning Money blog.
In the accompanying video, taped ahead of Monday's Senate vote, White notes that while "Europe has a real crisis, ours is self-inflicted."
Monday's Senate action takes the immediate pressure off but Congress' struggle to come to an agreement over less-than $4 billion of FEMA funding does not bode well for the so-called Super Committee, which has until Thanksgiving to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade.
Failure to find the savings will trigger automatic spending cuts, including big cuts in military spending. White believes Congress will find some maneuver to avoid such steep cuts but doesn't have much faith anything approaching progress will occur until after the 2012 elections, which we'll discuss in detail in forthcoming segments.