U.S. Congress In Budget Impasse, As Government Shutdown Looms

Posted September 26th, 2011 at 12:19 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Republicans and Democrats are stuck once again in a budget impasse that is threatening aid for U.S. flood victims and could lead to a partial government shutdown later this week.

Senate Democrats are meeting Monday to come up with an alternative to a seven-week spending authorization passed by the Republican-controlled House and rejected by the Senate, last week. The Senate Democrats need to win 60 votes Monday to advance their short-term spending bill.

On Friday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have provided disaster relief aid and avoided a partial government shutdown. The legislation would have funded the government through November 18 and included $3.65 billion for domestic disaster relief.

But Senate Democrats said the Republican-backed plan failed to provide enough disaster aid. They also criticized a provision that would have cut $1.5 billion from government clean energy programs, saying the cuts would kill needed jobs.

The Senate Democrats version of the short-term spending bill, which has garnered bipartisan support, includes nearly $7 billion in disaster aid, but requires no spending offsets.

If a measure is not approved Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ,who allocates federal disaster relief funds to Americans, could run out of money.

For the third time this year a partial government shutdown is possible, if Congress can not find a way to agree on a measure before Friday , which marks the end of the U.S. government fiscal year. The House is on recess this week.