Senate Democrats oppose the House CR because they say it doesn’t provide enough for disaster aid and because it offsets about $1 billion of the $3.6 billion in disaster funds. Democrats argue that offsetting disaster funding is not often done and that it unnecessarily politicizes the process and results in delaying relief to victims. They also argue that House Republicans are reneging on an agreement that was part of the debt deal to provide up to $11 billion in disaster aid.
The offset currently in the bill would come from cutting funds for DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. The ATVM program helps the auto industry retool or expand factories to produce fuel-efficient technology. Democrats argue that the program creates jobs and to cut it is not good policy. The total offset, including the Solyndra-related addition, would add up to about $1.1 billion.
At the House Republicans’ caucus meeting this afternoon, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) sought to underscore that unless Republicans stick together, they will have to work with Democrats, which will result in spending more money.
He also stressed that the CR in its current form is the best deal Republicans can hope to get, so everyone should help get it passed.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated that Democrats will try to hold their line once again against the CR. Just six members of her party backed it Wednesday.
“We believe that we should not go down a different path now than we have done for disaster assistance,” Pelosi said.
Instead, she said, “We shouldn’t even be having this conversation. This is a conversation that should have never gone down this path.”
Pelosi also noted that any deal Republicans agree must “be acceptable to the United States Senate.”
“I remind that it’s a bicameral legislature, and if we want to not shut down the government, you need to have something that’s going to be able to be passed in the Senate,” she warned.
John Stanton, Jessica Brady and Jonathan Strong contributed to this story.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.