Shortly after midnight Friday morning, House Republicans pushed through a six-week continuing resolution that would extend the government’s spending authority into mid-November. The House failed to pass a similar resolution Wednesday when 48 Republicans voted against it because funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not, in their view, sufficiently offset.
To fix that problem, House leaders persuaded 23 Republicans to change their votes by buying them off with an additional $100 million in spending cuts, proving yet again that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) assertion that no one was holding disaster relief hostage for spending cuts was false. And despite holding up FEMA funding for more than a week, Cantor and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) offices immediately took to Twitter after the vote to announce that it was Senate Democrats who were holding FEMA funding hostage. Read tweets from Cantor spokesperson Brad Dayspring and Boehner spokesperson Kevin Smith:
But as Brian Fallon, spokesman for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) noted in his response to Dayspring and Smith, a bipartisan Senate majority already approved $7 billion to fund FEMA last Thursday, a full week before House Republicans approved a much smaller package last night.
The Senate package also passed on its second try after Senate Republicans successfully blocked Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) first attempt to bring the bill to the floor. The House GOP is now planning to recess today without coming to an agreement with the Senate.
Republicans brought the government to the brink of shutdown in March, and Republican leadership has held disaster relief funding hostage since tornadoes hit Joplin, Missouri in May. Now, with the American people turning against their lack of leadership in Congress and Republican governors rebuking them on disaster relief, it appears the GOP’s only answer is to attempt to blame Senate Democrats for blocking funding they already passed.