Senate rejects funding bill, shutdown nears
- By Camille Tuutti
- Sep 23, 2011
The Senate has rejected a temporary funding bill that the House had passed in the early-morning hours of Sept. 23
. The Senate vote leaves the prospect of a government shutdown alive.
The Democratic-led Senate voted 59 to 36 to reject the House-approved bill that would provide funding to disaster-relief efforts and keep the federal government funded through Nov. 18. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has scheduled a Sept. 26 vote on the spending measure. He wants lawmakers to "cool off" over the weekend, according to a report in The Hill,
“The leaders ... should just cool off a little bit,” he said. “Work through this. There is a compromise here...Everyone once in a while needs a little cooling-off period.” Congress will be in recess for most of next week.
Disaster funding usually draws bipartisan support, but this year Republican leaders are adamant that any supplemental emergency funds be offset by other spending cuts, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a statement Sept. 22, Reid called the House continuing resolution "not an honest effort at compromise"
Rather, the bill "fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate," he said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency could run out of money as early as Sept. 26, Reid said, resulting in relief funds getting “tied up in partisan gridlock.”
The House-approved legislation that passed in the early hours of Sept. 23 would fund the government through Nov. 18 and allocates $3.65 billion to FEMA.
Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.