House Budget Vote Stalls Financing Necessary to Keep Government Running

The Continuing Resolution (CR) necessary to keep the federal government running after September 30th received a setback this week when House and Senate couldn’t agree on funding for disaster relief and how to pay for it.  The CR would fund the federal government for an additional 9 weeks — to give Congress time to pass individual agency funding bills (or a possible omnibus funding package).  The most significant near term implication of this situation appears to be for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Due to a literal flood of recent disasters, FEMA is about to run out of money in its disaster relief fund and the additional funding was included in the CR bill.  House leadership wanted to offset the cost of the disaster relief with cuts to a Department of Energy loan program for clean cars.  The House, on its second try early Friday, passed a bill that would extend government funding and provide FEMA with additional funding but off set that with cuts to the clean cars program.  The Democratic controlled Senate wants increased disaster relief funding and objects to the cuts in clean energy so it tabled the House bill setting up the current impasse. This latest dispute means the federal government could again be facing a government shutdown unless something is worked out before next Friday.  Votes on new legislation could be held as early as Monday, although the House was originally scheduled for a recess next week.