In general, Sen. Mark Warner (D) of Virginia is not exactly a reflexive partisan. The Democrat who helped launch the “Gang of Six” talks late last year, Warner tends to be pretty moderate and uncomfortable with ideological fights.

This realization made his comments on CNN yesterday that much more interesting.

The topic at hand was the threat of a government shutdown and the way in which House Republicans have picked a fight over financing disaster relief — the GOP is holding the funding and the larger process hostage, demanding clean-energy offsets in exchange for emergency aid and keeping the government’s lights on. Warner fleshed out the perspective of his caucus quite well.

“The Senate is saying … ‘Why should we in effect rebuild schools in Iraq on the credit card, but expect that rebuilding schools in Joplin, Missouri, at this moment in time have to be paid for in a way that has never been in any of the previous disaster assistance that we’ve put out before?’”

That’s a good question. Why would Republicans have a weaker standard for foreign spending than they do domestic spending?

For many years now, congressional Republicans have been willing to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and never sought a dime of spending offsets. Now, with a weak economy and American communities hit by natural disasters, GOP officials decide foreign spending doesn’t need comparable cuts but spending in the U.S. does?

Maybe some enterprising Capitol Hill reporter can pose Warner’s question to the Republican leadership.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.