Senate leaders reached an agreement Monday afternoon to prevent a government shutdown on Saturday — ending a weeks long stalemate.The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced earlier Monday that it does not expect to require additional funding this week to replenish its disaster aid fund — making moot the argument Democrats and Republicans had been having over offsetting spending cuts.
The continuing resolution to fund the government includes $1 billion for FEMA that could be spent during fiscal year 2011, which ends on Friday — though Republicans wanted to cut clean energy funding to pay for it. Now that the money is no longer needed, the Senate will pass a “clean” bill with $2.5 billion for FEMA with no offsets.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the bill “the Johnny Isakson solution,” quoting the Georgia Republican Senator as saying “It’s only worth fighting when there’s something to fight for.”
The temporary extension for the government will expire on November 18, a point at which a budget will have to be passed, or another continuing resolution undertaken.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticised Democrats for holding up the House bill, but said the final agreement was “reasonable.” This entire fire drill was completely and totally unnecessary,” he said.
The Senate also voted on a four-day-long continuing resolution to allow the House to hold a formal vote on the 7-week measure when they return to Washington from a week-long recess. The House is expected to pass the bill — which will fund the government through October 4 — by unanimous consent on Thursday.
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