WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A possible government shutdown over emergency assistance funding is diverting attention from reducing debt, Republican and Democratic senators said Sunday.
Legislation that would give funds to the Federal Emergency Management Agency has stalled in the House, threatening a third government shutdown in a year.
"Now what we should have been doing this past week is all we could do to create an environment so the work that Senator (Mark) Warner, Senator (Saxby) Chambliss, and others have done to reduce the debt by $4 trillion succeeds. That would have been a good use of the week instead of this chest-pounding and game-playing that has been going on," Sen. Lamar Alexander, D-Tenn., said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said he agrees, and places the blame for the stalemate on House Tea Party members.
"I do believe it is mostly centered in the House in terms of some of these Tea Party Republicans, who say on every issue we're going to make this a make-or-break. ... We should be able to have a legitimate debate about emergency aid. Why link that into a government shutdown or not."
However, Alexander says Warner is to blame for manufacturing a crisis.
"Everybody knows we're going to pay for every single penny of disaster aid that the president declares and that FEMA certifies," he said.