Are We Headed For Another Government Shutdown Crisis?

Judging by the defeat this afternoon of a Continuing Resolution backed by House GOP Leadership, the answer may be yes:

WASHINGTON — In a rebuke to GOP leaders, the House on Wednesday rejected a measure providing $3.7 billion for disaster relief as part of a bill to keep the government running through mid-November.

The surprise 230-195 defeat came at the hands of Democrats and tea party Republicans.

Democrats were opposed because the measure contains $1.5 billion in cuts to a government loan program to help car companies build fuel-efficient vehicles. For their part, many GOP conservatives felt the underlying bill permits spending at too high a rate.

The outcome sends House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and his leadership team back to the drawing board as they seek to make sure the government doesn’t shut down at the end of next week. It also raises the possibility that the government’s main disaster relief program could run out of money early next week for victims of Hurricane Irene and other disasters.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has only a few days’ worth of aid remaining in its disaster relief fund, lawmakers said Wednesday. The agency has already held up thousands of longer-term rebuilding projects — repairs to sewer systems, parks, roads and bridges, for example — to conserve money to provide emergency relief to victims of recent disasters.

The looming shortage has been apparent for months, and the Obama White House was slow to request additional money.

The underlying stopgap funding measure would finance the government through Nov. 18 to give lawmakers more time to try to reach agreement on the 12 unfinished spending bills needed to run government agencies on a day-to-day basis for the 2012 budget year.

Forty-eight Republican broke with GOP leaders on the vote; six Democrats voted for the measure.

They could change the bill, of course, to make it more palatable to the House GOP, but that would only likely make it less likely to pass the Senate. So hear we sit, with 9 days to go, and we’re going to do this for the third time this year.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. David M says:

    Surprising the GOP leadership would bring it up for a vote without the necessary support for it to pass, and then not have any contingency plan at all if it didn’t pass.

    I am still dumbfounded that FEMA / disaster relief is now such a budgetary sticking point. How does this even start to make sense?

  2. john personna says:

    Car companies absolutely do not need a 1.5 billion government loan program to help them build fuel-efficient vehicles. Such vehicles are already on sale around the world. They are just not chosen by the bulk of buyers.

    (Ultra high MPG vehicles, like the VW 200 MPG car, mainly await a market.)

  3. @David M:

    There are people in North Carolina, New Jersey, and Upstate New York asking that question too

  4. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @David M: This isn’t about making sense. This is about the young bulls in the newly elected permanent GOP majority showing that they and the tea partiers who elected them can’t be pushed around to go along with “business as usual” such as running the country.

    Try to keep up, jeeeeez!!

  5. Hey Norm says:

    the so-called republicans are in the house!!! government shut-downs and impeachments is how they roll!!! crap like this is just a lot easier than actually…oh, i don’t know…governing.

  6. Rob in CT says:

    Agreed about the TPers, but also:

    Democrats were opposed because the measure contains $1.5 billion in cuts to a government loan program to help car companies build fuel-efficient vehicles.


  7. JohnMcC says:

    The House is scheduled to recess Sept 26th thru Oct 1st. Well done, Leader Reid!!!