Congressional leaders reached a temporary agreement Monday to pass legislation that funds the government through October 4, by eliminating a contentious debate regarding Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding from the measure altogether.
FEMA funding became a key sticking point for Republican and Democrat leadership, when it became clear earlier this month that the agency was in danger of running out of disaster relief funds. Republican House leadership insisted that any additional funding to FEMA must be offset through cuts elsewhere and included measures in the spending bill to drastically cut funding for two clean energy loan and investment programs. Democrats—who noted that these two measures alone support tens of thousands of jobs—opposed the spending offsets and argued that the additional funds allotted to FEMA were not sufficient. The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected the House version of the stopgap measure within a matter of hours.
On Monday, FEMA announced that it would have enough funds to last through the fiscal year; a move that allowed Congressional leaders to temporarily resolve the impasse. Senate Democrats stripped provisions allotting additional FEMA funding and the subsequent cuts to clean energy funding, and approved the measure with a 79-12 vote Monday evening.
The House is expected to vote on the updated language this Thursday, which if approved will temporarily fund the government until October 4, and will vote on a more comprehensive measure to fund the government through November 18, upon returning from recess next week.