An already contentious debate over funding the government past September 30 intensified Thursday as Republicans amended their bill to be more amenable to GOP lawmakers and Democrats pledged to oppose it.In what is at latest government shutdown threat this year, without action by the start of the new fiscal year, all but the most essential government services will cease on October 1 until a new agreement is reached.
House Republicans passed a continuing resolution early Friday morning on a mostly partly-line vote, though the bill drew immediate criticism from Senate Democrats over its spending cut offsets for new federal disaster aid.
“The bill the House will vote on tonight is not an honest effort at compromise,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, noting that the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. “It 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.”
The House added $100 million in cuts to the federal program that made the loan to the now-bankrupt solar company, Solyndra, in order to win over enough GOP votes to pass over Democratic opposition. An earlier version fo the bill failed to pass on Wednesday, dealing a blow to tha Republican leadership.
The measure includes $3.65 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, less than the $6.9 requested by the Obama administration and demanded by Democrats.
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner, called on the Senate to pass the bill in its current form, noting FEMA could run out of disaster relief money as soon as Monday.
“The Senate should pass this bill immediately, and the President should sign it, because any political games will delay FEMA money that suffering American families desperately need.”
Reid said that the Senate was willing to postpone its vacation to reach a compromise — a prospect House Majority Leader Eric Cantor ruled out early Friday morning — setting the stage for a high-stakes game of political chicken with a week until the deadline.
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