House passes measure to avoid government shutdown, but Senate won’t

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

The House of Representatives early Friday morning passed a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a looming shutdown after the first attempt to pass a resolution failed. But Senate Democrats are strongly opposed to the new measure.

"The bill the House will vote on tonight is not an honest effort at compromise. It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement prior to the vote, which resulted in passage 219-203.

Democrats argue the new resolution includes inadequate disaster funds for FEMA, and they oppose spending cuts to programs they say are necessary to stimulate the economy.

"Wake up! Wake up! You can't kill these programs. This is the solution you are killing," Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said on the House floor, referring to cuts to environmental programs he argues are going to help Americans against natural disasters.

But Republicans who support the measure say that the proposed spending cuts are key to rescuing the economy.

"I'm not one of those people who believe that we have to offset every emergency," Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said on the House floor. " . . . . But in the past, we have not had a 14 trillion dollar deficit!" he shouted. "That's the danger to this country--is the 14 trillion dollar deficit and the 1.6 trillion we add to it every damn year!"

The first continuing resolution that came before the House earlier this week failed when Democrats joined 48 Republican conservative fiscal hawks in the House to defeat it. So House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appealed to conservatives and made deeper cuts in the current resolution, which drew opposition from just 24 House Republicans. Six Democrats also supported the current bill.

Both parties face a time crunch. The government is currently funded through the fiscal year, which concludes Sept. 30. Democrats say FEMA may require additional funds as early as Sept. 26. And Congress is scheduled to be in recess following today's session in observance of next week's Rosh Hashana holiday.

Reid said Friday he would put the measure up for a vote this morning but that it is dead on arrival.

Update 12:47 p.m. EST: The Senate voted to table the resolution 59-36. Reid has scheduled a vote for Monday evening.