Another hostage scenario is brewing - this time Republicans are holding victims of natural disasters for ransom. Congress needs to approve a funding measure by the end of the month - or the government will shut down - furloughing 800,000 federal workers. But the Senate and the House aren't seeing eye-to-eye on a funding bill - and it all comes down to disaster relief aid. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid passed a funding bill that included nearly $7 billion of disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Irene - the Joplin tornados - and the countless people across the nation devastated by historic flooding this year.
So far - estimates put damage from natural disasters this year alone at about $32 billion. But Republicans in the House won't spend money on things that show government can actually work and solve problems, so they're proposing a much smaller relief package - about $3.6 billion - and they likely won't budge on that number.
As Senator Reid said, "I'm not that sure (that a shutdown will be averted), because the Tea Party-driven House of Representatives has been so unreasonable in the past, I don't know why they should suddenly be reasonable." Welcome to Republican rule in American - where the next hostage could be you!
(Do you think there will be a shutdown? Tell us here.)