–Senate Majority Leader Says House GOP Plan ‘Fell Apart’ Wednesday
–Sen. Reid: ‘Don’t Know What’ House Will Do On FY’12 Stop-Gap
–Sen. Reid: House GOP Has Been ‘Spiteful’ on Disaster Funds

By John Shaw

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday
blasted House Republican leaders for breaking their agreement on
discretionary funding for the 2012 fiscal year by trying to attach a
“spiteful” disaster funding provision to their FY’12 stop-gap bill.

“We are at an impasse here,” Reid said in remarks on the floor of
the Senate.

“We don’t know what they (House Republican leaders) are going to
do,” he added.

Reid said the failure of the House to pass a stop-gap spending bill
Wednesday has thrown the congressional schedule into chaos and may
require a weekend session.

Reid said the House GOP leadership spending plan “fell apart”
Wednesday evening.

In a sharp rebuke to the Republican leadership, the House rejected
Wednesday evening its plan to fund the federal government until Nov. 18
while work continues on the regular spending bills for the 2012 fiscal

The House GOP leadership’s FY’12 stop-gap bill was defeated on a
192-to-230 vote. Almost but six House Democrats and nearly 48 House
Republicans voted against the plan.

Democrats voted against the measure because of what they called
inadequate funds for emergency spending.

The nearly 50 House Republicans who voted against the plan largely
came from the Tea Party wing of the party which is critical of
government spending.

Congressional leaders had thought the main elements of the
stop-gap bill were not in dispute because the overall funding level
for discretionary programs 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 fierce dispute over the level of emergency
funds. The House GOP leadership supported a package of $3.65 billion in
emergency relief while House and Senate Democrats support a $6.9 billion
package. There is also a dispute over whether any of the emergency funds
should be offset.

Additionally, the Tea Party wing of the House GOP believes the
overall discretionary funding level for FY’12 of $1.043 trillion is too
high. Some are pressing for a $1.019 trillion ceiling.

Even before the House vote, Reid said the dispute over emergency
funding could lead to a government shutdown.

The Senate had planned to take up the stop-gap bill shortly after
it cleared the House. However, it now seems likely that House Republican
leaders will have to rework the stop-gap bill and schedule another House
vote Thursday.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third ranking Senate Democrat, told
reporters Wednesday evening after the House vote that House GOP leaders
have two options: reducing the $1.043 trillion level to assuage the Tea
Party wing or add to the emergency funds to secure Democratic support.

He said cutting the $1.043 trillion discretionary level is a “non
starter” for Senate Democrats.

“The Senate will not accept a lower CR number,” he said.

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

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