Feb. 10, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

House Votes Down Government Funding, Disaster Aid Bill

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Senate Majority Reid criticized House Republicans today after the continuing resolution was rejected, saying they don’t want to provide enough federal disaster relief.

Updated: 6:48 p.m.

The House threw the appropriations process into chaos today, voting down a stopgap funding resolution that conservative Republicans and virtually all Democrats opposed. The vote increases the likelihood that both chambers will encroach on next week’s scheduled recess in order to avert a government shutdown.

The continuing resolution, which failed 195-230, must now be redrafted so lawmakers can pass it before the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

GOP conservatives and Democrats opposed the CR for different reasons, but the overall result was a repudiation of House Republican leaders, who had pleaded with their rank and file to go along with the measure and avoid a continuation of the spending and budget wars that have defined the 112th Congress.

House Republican leaders had been wrestling to get the votes of conservatives, but 48 Republicans ended up voting against the bill.

The conservatives opposed the measure because it adheres to the $1.043 trillion discretionary spending level set in the deal to boost the debt ceiling enacted last month. Those conservatives preferred to spend at the $1.019 trillion level set out in the House-passed budget resolution.

More than 50 Members signed on to a recent letter from Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) complaining about the CR’s higher spending level.

The failure to pass the CR came as a shock, particularly after House Republicans kept their Conference together for the vote on the rule earlier in the afternoon.

The bill also went down as a result of House Democrats unifying against it. Only six Democrats backed the bill.

Democrats opposed the House CR primarily over the level of funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The House CR included $3.6 billion for FEMA disaster funding, of which roughly $1 billion would be offset by cutting funds for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program, which helps the auto industry retool or expand factories to produce fuel-efficient technology.

House Appropriations ranking member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), who had previously said he would support the CR, voted “no” on Wednesday after what he described asw a “fervor” of opposition among his colleagues and a decision by leadership to go against the bill. Seventy-seven Democrats also sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) calling for him to scrap the offset targeting the ATVM program, which the group maintained “has a demonstrated record of success and job creation.”

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