A Bad DayThursday, March 11, 2010
It’s a bad day in Grassmeyer world, ladies and gentlemen. About an hour ago, Congress announced a “sweeping earmark ban” for the remainder of this year. I know the average American doesn’t pay a ton of attention to politics of this sort, or even understand it, but in our world this is HUGE and this is BAD.
For those of you who don’t know, Tyler works in “appropriations” for non-profit and/or faith-based clients. Essentially, he gets federal funding for hospitals, homeless shelters, boys’ homes, small Christian universities, etc… And he has been in the midst of his “busy season,” which comes every year like clockwork. Every January through March, I barely see him—he is constantly working, constantly stressed, and never home. It’s been like this for the past four years he’s worked there; I’ve come to know and accept it, but it is always hard on me and hard on our marriage. [I come home every night and sing “I’m rone-ry, so rone-ry…” Name that movie.]
He is so insanely busy because the deadlines to submit requests for money (“earmarks”) are all between February and March. This means a TON of paperwork and TON of meetings on the Hill between Tyler’s clients and the Congressmen/women who represent their district.
So, what happened today was that all of Tyler’s clients (and all of his company’s clients) will get no funding this year and even worse (for me, emotionally) is that all of Tyler’s hard work for the last 3 months has been for nothing. The last eight weekends he’s missed church, the mornings he got up and went to work at 3:30am, the nights he didn’t come home until 11pm, the hours upon hours he’s spent with his clients, in his office, on his computer, and the hours and hours and hours I’ve been hanging out solo…were all for nothing.
This was done by the Republicans because it’s an election year and the Rs and the Ds are trying to out-do one another on ethical issues. Many applaud this because they think it’s downsizing the budget, but earmarks are already IN the budget, they’ve already been designated or “appropriated” for groups to vie for. When that money isn’t spent, it’s just divvied up and sent to different groups within the government (aka- The Executive branch).
[Full disclosure: we are Republicans, so I am criticizing our own “people.”]
So essentially, Tyler has worked so hard to get funding for organizations that do great things for people in need… They won’t get funding, his work is down the drain, and the federal budget doesn’t change a dime. It’s just a political move to make people who don’t understand the process think they’ve done something fiscally responsible for our country.
Sorry for the civics lesson and the not-so-interesting-but-maybe-educational-(??) political topic. It’s just too big in our world and I’m too frustrated not to mention it. And I’m sad for my husband and how defeated he must feel today…
Update: Final result today is that only the Rs in the House voted to ban earmarks. This means all of Tyler’s clients who are in D districts or have R Senators still have hope for funding and not all work was in vain, just some. This is muy bueno compared to what was initially thought. If so, Tyler would probably be in a bar right now, not eating Moe’s on the couch avec moi. (Yes, I’m trilingual—are you impressed?). :)