The standoff between the House and the Senate over emergency funding for FEMA will continue until at least Monday.
The Senate has voted to table – essentially kill – a House-passed bill that would have funded both the U.S. government and provided $3.65 billion FEMA needs for disaster relief. One Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted with Republicans against shelving the bill.
Citing the need for the leaders from both chambers and both parties to “cool off” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV., announced that he will cancel the start of a recess for the coming Jewish holiday, and Senators are expected to be in Washington, DC to work on Monday.
“The two Democratic leaders, Reid and Pelosi, and two Republican leaders, McConnell and Boehner, should just cool off a little bit,” Reid said referring to himself in the third person, “everyone once in a while needs a little cooling off period. The government is not shutting down, I spoke with Mr. Fugate myself. FEMA is not out of money.”
Reid and Democrats in the senate want to give FEMA $7 billion – nearly twice as much as Republicans in the House – and fund the government in a separate measure. The Senate’s FEMA funding bill would not be off-set with spending cuts elsewhere.
Reid scheduled a procedural vote at 5:30 pm Monday with an amended measure: accept the smaller FEMA proposal from the House, but strip out the spending cuts from the House bill.
Reid said that he hopes on Monday “more reasonable heads will prevail.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., objected to hold the vote Monday.
“There’s absolutely no reason in my judgment to delay funding for disasters in Monday,” McConnell said, adding that he’s “pretty confident” that the measure will fail anyway in the Senate, so why delay the debate any longer.
“It’s my view we ought to have the vote today rather than having to wait until Monday and basically squander the next few days toward getting an agreement we know we have to reach.”
But Reid got his way and the Senate will reconvene on Monday to have the vote.