News / USA

US Government Shutdown, Disaster Relief Threatened by Congressional Fight

US Capitol in Washington (file photo)
US Capitol in Washington (file photo)
Cindy Saine

The U.S. Senate is set to vote Monday on a short-term funding measure to keep the federal government running past midnight Friday, when current funding runs out.  But in a conflict reminiscent of last April, Republicans in the House of Representatives and Democrats in the Senate are clashing over government spending in a showdown that threatens to shut down the government and dry up disaster relief funds.  

For the third time this year, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are locked in a high-stakes battle over what typically had been routine votes to authorize funding for the federal government or raise the national debt ceiling.  

The Democratic-controlled Senate is set to vote on its own short-term spending measure, or continuing resolution, after the Senate rejected a spending bill passed by the Republican-controlled House late last week.  Senate Democrats need 60 votes to advance their bill.

The House bill would have funded the federal government through November 18 and included $3.65 billion for domestic disaster relief for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner called on the Senate to pass the House bill.

"The House passed a common sense measure that would keep the government open and provide immediate disaster relief to refill the FEMA coffers," said Boehner. "And while we passed a responsible bill, it is time for the Senate to move the House passed bill."

But Senate Democrats say the House plan did not provide enough disaster aid.  They also criticize a provision that would have cut $1.5 billion from government clean energy programs, saying the reductions would kill jobs at a time of high unemployment.

The Senate Democrats' spending bill requires no spending offsets, which they say would set a bad precedent for future disasters.

Jessica Brady of the Roll Call newspaper says the partisan wrangling over the government budget is not good for the country.

"It is never good to have a shutdown; it is certainly not good for FEMA to run out of money when there are so many victims of natural disasters out there," said Brady.

For the third time this year, a partial government shutdown is possible, if Congress cannot agree on a budget measure before Friday, September 30,  the end of the U.S. government's fiscal year.  The House is in recess this week, and Republican leaders say they do not plan to call representatives to Washington from their home districts.

It is unclear how the House and Senate can resolve the impasse.  But analysts say the conflict is unlikely to improve Congress' approval rating with the American public, which surveys show is at an all-time low of about 12 percent.  

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid