Weekend session possible after failed House CR vote

Wednesday - 9/21/2011, 6:51am EDT


By Federal News Radio staff
(This story has been updated - 3:30 a.m.)

Following the surprise defeat of a six-week continuing resolution funding the government past the end of the fiscal year next Friday, lawmakers are preparing to work through the weekend on an agreement.

The stopgap measure, introduced in the House last week, failed to pass the House today in a 230-195 vote.

The government runs out of funds on Sept. 30 and faces a shutdown if Congress fails to pass a funding measure.

Surprise defeat

The surprising rejection of the bill came at the hands of Democrats and tea party Republicans, who disagreed over disaster funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Democrats opposed the House CR because it only included disaster funding at the expense of cuts to a government loan program to help car companies build fuel efficient vehicles.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) opposed the bill, saying in a statement, "Now, the problem we have is that the target for paying for [the disaster funding] is what we perceive to be a job creator."

For their part, many GOP conservatives said they felt the underlying bills permitted spending at too high a rate.

The measure, which would have funded the government through Nov. 18, was introduced in the House last week, as it became clearer that the 12 annual appropriations bills — which must pass both chambers of Congress — would almost certainly not meet the end-of-the-month deadline.

Working overtime?

Though the fiscal year doesn't end until Sept. 30, both chambers are scheduled to be in recess next week. But now, House leadership indicates lawmakers should prepare to work this weekend.

A daily schedule posted on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's website notes: "Members are advised that a weekend session is now possible."

The House is poised to take another pass at a funding bill as early as today, The Hill reported.

And earlier this week, Reid warned lawmakers in his chamber they might work "all next week," to reach a deal, The Hill reported.

Some lawmakers are still downplaying talk of a shutdown.

When asked if the bill's defeat made the threat of a shutdown loom larger, Cantor replied: "I don't think so," The Hill reported.

But Reid expressed uncertainty earlier this week. "I'm not that sure" there won't be a shutdown," he told reporters Tuesday.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story.