U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that "we're at an impasse here" because House Republicans failed to pass a bill to keep the government funded and said he hopes the chamber will act quickly to avoid being in session during next week's scheduled holiday week.
"We really are at an impasse here--not because of what we're doing but because of what they're doing and we'll wait and see what action they take," Reid said. "It's extremely important that they act as quickly as they can. We know that we had scheduled next week to be off we hope we can do that."
Republican leaders late Wednesday failed to pass the funding measure after the conservative wing of their base and a majority of Democrats revolted against it. The fiscal conservatives thought spending was too high. Democrats objected to a decision to attach $3.65 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency because it was less than they wanted and would be paid for partly by taking money from an Energy Department program that has been financing alternative-vehicle companies.
Reid said that Republicans should pass the spending measure, which keeps the government running beyond Sept. 30, and then take up FEMA funding separately. The Senate has already approved a measure to give FEMA some $6.9 billion in funding, including money to replenish the nearly depleted disaster-relief fund. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D, La.) said late Wednesday that FEMA's chief told her the money could run out by Tuesday, as the agency is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
"If they don't like that, send us back something else," Reid said. "We think that the overwhelming support of the nation is for something we did, but don't tie it to the CR (continuing resolution). That's simply not the right thing to do."