Feb. 12, 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.

At a press conference today, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said, “This money that they’re cutting, which deals with making sure we have advanced technology for automobiles that are competitive in the global market and that will create jobs here at home now, is a bad policy in and of itself.”

Despite the wide-scale defection of his own Conference, Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers sought to place the blame on the Democrats, who “voted almost to a person to shut down the government.”

The Kentucky Republican said he was “disappointed” that not enough of his GOP colleagues voted in favor of the CR, but he calmly dismissed questions about the House’s failure to pass the six-week spending bill.

“This is a democracy, and this is the sausage factory. People who sell sausage don’t want you to see behind the doors,” he said.

Erica Elliott, a spokeswoman for Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said in a statement, “This bill was designed to pass with Democrat votes, in part based on assurances from Reps. Dicks and Hoyer that they would vote for it. Frankly, it’s shocking as many Republicans voted for it as did.”

So now Rogers and GOP leaders will draft another bill.

But if they retool to make the CR even leaner, it will create problems in the Senate, where Democrats were arguing that even the initial CR’s $3.6 billion disaster level was inadequate. They also oppose the ATVM offset and argue that House Republicans are reneging on an agreement to provide up to $11 billion over spending caps settled on in the deal to raise the debt ceiling.

“House Republicans, obsessed with pleasing a group of tea party radicals, are refusing to give the Federal Emergency Management Agency the funding it needs to reconstruct ravaged communities across this great nation,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today. “And they’re threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get what they want.”

If the House had passed the CR, the Nevada Democrat had intended to try to amend it with legislation passed by the Senate last week that would provide nearly $7 billion for disaster aid. Further complicating matters, it was unclear whether Reid could get enough votes for that.

“Over the last two decades, almost 90 percent of the money Congress has authorized for disaster relief has been done outside of the regular budget process,” Reid said. “I ask my Republican colleagues, why should today be different?”

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