Update:Reid:Hard To Negotiate W/Hse on Stop-Gap;’They’re Gone’

Author: Market News International | Category: News

–Retransmitting Story Sent 16:27 ET To Update With Quote In 4th Graph
–Senate Majority Leader Says Senate Will Vote On ‘Compromise’ Plan
–‘No More Time To Lose'; FEMA Running Out of Money
–‘Cautiously Optimistic’ GOP Won’t Let Government Shut Down

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday
the Senate will vote on a “compromise” package to end the stalemate over
the 2012 fiscal year stop-gap spending bill, but added it’s difficult to
negotiate with the House on a funding agreement since they are not in
Washington this week, at least yet.

“They left, they’re gone,” Reid said Monday of the House in remarks
on the Senate floor.

Both the House and Senate were scheduled to be off this week.
However, a funding dispute over the FY’12 budget and disaster funds
compelled Reid to bring the Senate back into session.

“There is no more time to lose,” Reid said, referring to FEMA funds
specifically, and the overall funding bill in general.

The Senate will vote Monday at 5:30 p.m. ET on a Democratic
alternative to end the budget stalemate, but Republican leaders say they
are confident the bill will fail.

The Senate rejected last week the House-passed funding bill.

Reid said that disaster funding is central to the dispute and said
FEMA’s budget is “running dry” and needs to be replenished soon. He said
the exact date is “debatable.”

The 2012 fiscal year begins Saturday and congressional leaders have
said they must past a stop-gap spending bill to fund the government
until Oct.1.

The underlying FY’12 stop-gap spending bill is relatively
non-controversial. It keeps the federal government running until Nov. 18
as work continues on the regular spending bills for the 2012 fiscal
year.

The overall funding level for discretionary programs in FY’12 was
agreed to earlier this year by the White House and Congress. That level
is $1.043 trillion for discretionary programs in FY’12.

However, there is a continuing dispute over disaster funding which
is attached to the stop-gap bill. The House GOP leadership backs a
package of $3.65 billion in emergency relief while Senate Democrats have
supported a $6.9 billion package.

Additionally, the House bill includes a partial offset to the
disaster package by cutting $1.5 billion from an energy efficiency
program. House Republican leaders also added a provision to cut $100
million from a loan guarantee program that the solar energy company
Solyndra used before it went bankrupt.

Reid said the Senate will vote Monday on a stop-gap bill that has
$3.65 billion in disaster funds but does not include the offsets that
the House put on the bill.

Reid said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Republicans will not
let the federal government shut down.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: (202) 371-2121 **

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