22/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 21:53

US Congress funding feud threatens government shutdown

Category: Headlines

Published: 23rd Sep 2011 19:27:21

A US partial government shutdown is looming amid the latest spending dispute to cripple Congress - over two provisions in a federal funding bill.

The Democratic-led Senate has blocked legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The Democrats oppose Republican demands that funding for victims of hurricanes and wildfires be offset with cuts to clean energy programmes.

The stopgap spending bill is to fund the government beyond September's end.

Lawmakers from both sides have said disaster relief should not be a matter of controversy.

But with Congress' approval ratings in the basement, analysts say the latest dispute is just another sign of how partisan rancour is hampering US lawmakers' ability to pass even the most basic legislation.

Congress must extend funding for the entire government to avoid a partial shutdown on 30 September.

The fever hasn't broken - the behaviour that we saw this summer that really repelled Americans continues”

But aid for Americans hit by Hurricane Irene, Texas wildfires and tornadoes could also dry up by Tuesday if Congress does not replenish the dwindling relief fund.

The Senate voted on Friday by 59-36 to block the bill, which was passed overnight - on the second attempt - in the House by 219-203.

The revamped legislation approved in the House would provide $3.7bn (£2.4bn) of disaster relief.

But Democrats say that is not enough and object to a provision to help pay for it by trimming $1.5bn from a programme to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.

Democrats said they would not consent to cuts to an energy department loan programme that was creating much-needed jobs.

It is the same programme that provided more than $500m to Solyndra, a now-bankrupt solar panel maker that has laid off 1,100 employees.

The Senate has passed its own bill, providing $6.9bn in disaster aid and no cuts to help pay for it.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: "Americans are tired of this partisanship. They deserve to know that when disasters strike, we will be there to help them."

Republican House Speaker John Boehner told a news conference: "Any delay that occurs because of inaction in the Senate will only imperil needed disaster relief for these thousands of families all across our country."

Republicans were unable to get their bill past their own party members in the House earlier this week.

They only succeeded on the second attempt by introducing extra cuts of $100m from the energy department loan programme.

The latest deadlock drew criticism from the White House.

"The fever hasn't broken - the behaviour that we saw this summer that really repelled Americans continues," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Partisan warfare hit a high this summer as Congress bickered over a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling helped prompt a historic federal credit downgrade.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2011. US Congress funding feud threatens government shutdown [Online] (Updated 23rd Sep 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/188464/US-Congress-funding-feud-threatens-government-shutdown [Accessed 22nd Aug 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Gmail smartphone app hacked by researchers

    US researchers say they have been able to hack into Gmail accounts with a 92% success rate by exploiting a weakness in smartphone memory.
  • Cardiff police seize dog after woman, 91, is bitten

    A 91-year-old great-grandmother needed surgery after being bitten by a dog while walking home in Cardiff.
  • Ashton under Lyne Jewellery shop ram raid gang jailed

    A gang who admitted ram-raiding a jewellery store to steal about £100,000 of jewellery and cash have been jailed.
  • Murderers brother Kris Malavin admits attempted murder

    The brother of two killers has admitted attempting to murder a key witness who helped convict them.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Ukraine crisis: EU, US and Nato anger over Russian convoy

    Russia's decision to send more than 100 aid lorries into war-torn eastern Ukraine without permission has been widely condemned in the West.