No Government Shutdown for at Least a Few More Days

The House today unanimously approved a four-day stopgap spending bill that will keep the government running through Tuesday.

Although there were some worries that a conservative Republican might try to block passage of the bill, no one objected to the unanimous consent request made during a previously scheduled pro forma session, and the measure now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The fiscal year ends Friday, and passage of the bill gives the House time to take up a bill that would keep the government operating through Nov. 18. The House is expected to consider that continuing resolution Tuesday.

Both of the CRs were passed by the Senate last week after an agreement on disaster aid was reached between Senate Democrats and Republicans to avert a potential government shutdown.

The agreement provides $2.6 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief spending with no offsets.

A House-passed CR, which did not clear a 60-vote hurdle in the Senate last week, would have provided $3.6 billion for FEMA and offset about $1 billion of that amount — targeted for fiscal 2011 — with cuts to programs designed to develop alternative-energy technology. Democrats opposed the offsets, saying emergency funding should not be paid for with cuts elsewhere.

Republicans had insisted that the fiscal 2011 funds be offset. But during the weekend FEMA, said it could manage through the rest of the fiscal year without a federal cash infusion, so no offsets were needed.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the agreement would allow victims of disasters to get aid as soon as possible. She has argued that requiring offsets for disaster aid would politicize the process and likely delay getting funding out the door.

“Democrats insisted that we meet the immediate needs of those suffering from disasters without sacrificing American jobs,” Pelosi said in a release. “We stood firm against Republican efforts to balance the budget on the backs of those hit by natural hurricanes, floods and earthquakes disasters by destroying good-paying American jobs.”

Approval of the Nov. 18 CR will give Congress additional time to finish work on the annual spending bills. Of the 12 appropriations bills, the House has passed six and the Senate has passed one.