Senate Rejects GOP Spending Plan As Shutdown Threat Looms
Washington (CNN) -- The Democratic-controlled Senate rejected a House GOP temporary spending bill in a procedural test vote Friday, inching the federal government closer to yet another potential shutdown and risking the loss of sorely needed disaster recovery funds.
Before the measure was even formally presented, senators cast it aside in a 59-36 vote.
Hours earlier, GOP leaders rammed the bill through the Republican-controlled House in a 219-203 vote after adding a series of cuts vehemently opposed by their Democratic counterparts.
Both chambers of Congress must agree on new spending legislation to avoid a partial shutdown after the close of the current fiscal year on September 30. Congress is tentatively set to begin a week-long recess Monday.
The measure currently under deliberation -- which would keep Washington running through November 18 -- includes critical new disaster funding assistance for states hit hard by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and a series of recent wildfires and tornadoes. But Republicans want less disaster aid than their Democratic counterparts, and want to pay for it partly by slashing funding for programs designed to spur clean energy innovation.
The House passed a "common sense measure," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters during the Senate vote. "It's time for the Senate to move."
enate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters Thursday that the GOP plan is "not an honest effort at compromise." Reid blasted Republicans for moving "even further toward the tea party (and insisting) on holding out on Americans who have suffered devastating losses."
This is the third time the government has been threatened with a shutdown this year alone. Legislators nearly forced Washington to start closing its doors in mid-April and again during the debt ceiling imbroglio in August.
Tea party-backed legislators have used a series of statutory deadlines -- typically dealt with through non-controversial funding extensions -- to push an ideological agenda of spending reductions at sharp odds with priorities in the Obama administration and elsewhere.
The latest standoff in Washington, however, could have far-reaching negative consequences beyond the political arena. Among other things, the new shutdown threat could further damage an already sputtering economy. Global trading partners are increasingly confused by a "political system that looks manifestly broken," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned Thursday.
Meanwhile, the agency responsible for doling out disaster relief money -- the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- could run out of funds as soon as Monday, according to Reid. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM CNN
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