Monday, September 26, 2011

Senate Reaches Deal to Avert Government Shutdown


From the NYTimes: The Senate reached a tentative spending deal Monday night that would head off a threatened government shutdown over the handling of disaster aid, Senate officials said.

The apparent breakthrough came after the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicated it had enough money to squeak through the end of the fiscal year Friday night, eliminating one of the main points of partisan contention: whether to offset a quick infusion of funds to the agency with cuts elsewhere as House Republicans had insisted. Democrats in both the House and Senate had resisted that approach.

Under the agreement, funding for government agencies — including FEMA — that is due to run out at midnight on Friday, would be extended for six weeks at a level set in this year’s debt limit deal.

But that legislation will still require the approval of the House, which is in recess this week with lawmakers scattered around the country. Senate leaders are hoping that the House will agree to adopt the stop-gap measure in a pro forma session later this week without all its members being called back. The Senate was also going to pass a measure that would extend spending by one week to buy time for a longer agreement.

“We have basically resolved this issue,” Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, said on the floor Monday night.

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