Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Bad Day

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?). :)


tgrass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tgrass said...

Yes not a good day for the G'meyer household, however not as bad as it could have been.

Yes, a lot of long hours and hard work are probably for not, but at this point the ban only applies to GOP members in the House of Representatives. Thankfully most of my clients still have Democratic House champions, as well as, champions in the Senate.

Wife, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I promise walks outside, picnics along the Potomac, and weekend road trips soon!

Neal Carlton said...

Yup. Elizabeth feels your pain and Tyler, I feel yours. About 90% of our requests are through House R offices so we're kind of screwed. Hoping the Senate R's will pull through for us.

Abbie said...

Aw Kate. This is certainly way over my head, but I understand enough to know this sucks for the both of you. I'm so sorry that all of Tyler's hard work and long hours have been in vain. I'm thinking about you guys.

Shelly said...

As a fellow R I am disappointed the party has AGAIN decided to use earmarks as their leg to stand on in the upcoming election - thought we would have learned our lesson last time.

TG - even though some of your work was in vain, at least you know the staffers on the receiving end of your requests appreciate the organization and efforts put into the paperwork.

Hang in there and hope for spending bills chalk full of projects!

P.S. Maybe you guys should go to "The Slobster" (Red Lobster) to make you feel better. :)

Adam, April & Aidan said...

Sorry about the bad day!!! But really how sweet was Tyler's comment about picnics?

Kate G. said...

It was sweet! Unfortunately, for Tyler, that comment is published for all the world to see. And he will never escape it. Ever. And Cherry Blossom season is coming up...

Looks like we need to buy a pic-a-nic basket.