The Senate will vote later today on a House-passed continuing resolution that funds the government through Nov. 18 and replenishes the dwindling account of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the tune of $3.65 billion. That is roughly half the amount that Senate Democrats had wanted, and furthermore, about $1.1 billion of that funding is offset with spending cuts, which Democrats have described as “job-killing.” So Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has opted to amend the House bill to simply remove those spending offsets and call it a compromise. Unfortunately for Reid, he doesn’t have the Republican votes to pass such a measure. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) argued this much on the Senate floor last Friday, urging Reid to hold the vote then to get it out of the way, but Reid refused.
At the time, Reid’s refusal was bizarre given his insistence that FEMA would run out of money early this week. But he reasoned the extra couples of days would be enough to pressure some Republicans into supporting the amended House bill. But according to all accounts on Capitol Hill, that hasn’t happened. Not surprisingly, Democrats are now singing a different tune when it comes to FEMA funding, saying it has enough to last through Thursday or Friday. House GOP aides insist that the Senate has “no endgame” other than to pass the House-passed CR in its entirety. House members are on recess all week anyway, so the ball is in the Senate’s court. Congress has until Sept. 30 to approve a new funding resolution or the government will “shut down.”