Partisan Battle Moves
US Closer to Government Shutdown
September 23, 2011
Senate Democrats have blocked a bill that would have provided aid for
U.S. flood victims and avoided a partial government shutdown, setting up
another round of bitter partisan bickering.
The Democratic-led Senate voted 59-to-36 Friday to kill an emergency
spending bill from the Republican-led House of Representatives. The
House passed the measure in the early hours of Friday.
The legislation would have funded the government through November 18 and
included $3.65 billion for domestic disaster relief. But Senate
Democrats said the Republican-backed plan failed to provide enough
disaster aid. They also criticized a provision that would have cut $1.5
billion from government clean energy programs, saying the cuts would
kill needed jobs.
Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on
Republican leaders to “cool off” , and work with him in the coming days
to find a solution.
Earlier, the speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, called the
measure a “reasonable, responsible approach” and chastised Democrats for
threatening to hold up disaster relief.
The Senate has vowed to pass its own spending bill that includes nearly
$7 billion in disaster aid. If a temporary bill is not passed by next
Friday , the government will partially shut down.
the Senate vote, White House spokesman Jay Carney blamed Republicans for
the impasse, accusing them of the same type of partisan brinkmanship
that “really repelled Americans” during the recent debt crisis.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also criticized the partisanship
Friday but put the blame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, accusing
the Nevada Democrat of playing politics.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency could be affected before then
because its disaster assistance accounts will likely run out of money by
Both chambers of Congress are scheduled to be in recess next week.