Senate Democrats Put Rancor before Relief – Vote to Shutdown Government and Cease Disaster Relief for Thousands of Americans

Sep 23, 2011
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today blasted the Senate Democrat leadership for defeating a critical measure – passed on a bipartisan basis in the House last night – to prevent a government shutdown and to provide desperately needed disaster relief funds to thousands of Americans affected by recent devastating hurricanes, tornados, floods, wildfires, and earthquakes.

The House-passed Continuing Resolution (CR) is an essential bill that prevents a government shutdown and continues federal operations until all Appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2012 is enacted. The CR passed last night continues government operations until November 18th at a rate of $1.043 trillion – the total amount agreed to by the Congress and the White House in the recent debt-ceiling legislation. The legislation also contains a total of $3.65 billion in disaster relief funding to support much-needed assistance to the thousands of people affected by Hurricane Irene, recent wildfires, the devastating floods and tornados in the Midwest and South, the Mid-Atlantic earthquake, and other natural disasters. If legislation is not passed immediately, the Federal Emergency Disaster Agency (FEMA) will run out of disaster relief funds in a matter of days.

The statement by Hal Rogers follows:

“The move today by Leader Reid and the Democrats in the Senate is the ultimate in irresponsibility. Instead of putting the American people first, they have voted instead to engage in a political stare-down match that will bring us one step closer to a government shutdown, cause even more instability in our struggling marketplace, and cast aside the cries of families and communities across the country that are struggling to get back on their feet after terrible blows from Mother Nature.

“Senate Democrats voted to kill this critical, House-passed bill over objections to a cut of $1.5 billion in unused funding from the failed ‘stimulus’ bill that provides government subsidies to bailout the auto industry, and $100 million dollar cut from an energy program that funded the now bankrupt Solyndra company. These programs are sitting on over $5 billion in unspent funds, and have been symbols of the kind of government excess that propelled our nation into our current debt crisis.

“The American people are sick and tired of political games. Shutting down the government and cutting off essential programs that our people rely on is bad enough, but leaving disaster stricken families and communities in the lurch in their hour of greatest need is simply reprehensible. Leader Reid and his colleagues in the Senate will have much to answer for if they don’t reverse course and pass the responsible, bipartisan House CR that will keep the lights on in government and provide this much-needed disaster relief.”

112th Congress