The Post reports: “The Senate on Friday defeated by a vote of 59 to 36 a GOP-authored short-term funding measure designed to keep the government running through mid-November, ratcheting up the pressure on party leaders to resolve an impasse on federal disaster relief funds ahead of a deadline at the end of next week. It remained unclear Friday afternoon how leaders in both chambers would resolve the stalemate.” Both houses are due back on Monday, and if a new bill isn’t passed, the government will run out of operating money on October 1. FEMA could run out of funds as soon as Monday.
That prospect spurred Govs. Chris Christie (R-N.J., Tom Corbett R-Pa.), Andrew Cuomo (D. N.Y.), and Bev Perdue (D-N.C.) to issue a joint statement: “Our states have been hit hard by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. While the flood waters have receded and the storms are passed, the damage to communities, businesses and infrastructure remains significant. Billions of dollars in loss and destruction pose a serious threat not only to local and regional economies, but to the nation’s economic recovery. . . . Federal assistance for the victims of storms and floods should be beyond politics. Within 10 days of Hurricane Katrina, Congress passed and the President signed over $60 billion in aid for the Gulf Coast. It’s been 28 days since Irene and Lee started battering our states. We urge this Congress to move swiftly to ensure that disaster aid through FEMA and other federal programs is sufficient to start rebuilding now.”
I was on Capitol Hill for a good chunk of the day today. Although the threat of a shutdown looms, I sensed no particular air of urgency. Maybe deadline fatigue has set in. I asked a senior Senate aide what he thought would unfold. He casually replied, “Who knows? Reid may have to take up the House bill again.” Ho-hum.
One senses that FEMA will get some cash on Monday and that there will be some resolution on the CR. In some sense the House Republican leadership is testing Reid, who is in turn tryng to pressure the House Republicans. But this is chump change and you get the sense no one wants a big fight over this. The big showdown remains in the supercommittee.