With another deadline for funding the federal government approaching Sept. 30, partisan differences once again threaten the possibility of a government shutdown.
Since Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives this year, budget negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama have been intense. Previous debates centered around the 2011 fiscal year budget and raising the nation's debt ceiling.
The Budget Control Act passed early this month seemed, at the time, to resolve differences over the 2012 fiscal year budget, but disaster assistance funding for Hurricane Irene, Texas wildfires and the Virginia earthquake, among others, has brought a new issue into the mix.
Republicans argue that some of the disaster funding should be paid for with offsets, or cuts to other parts of the federal budget. Democrats want all the disaster funding to be paid for with additional deficit spending.
“We are not going to back down,” Reid said at his weekly press conference Tuesday.
The House will vote on a government-funding bill Wednesday that would increase FEMA funding for disasters by $3.6 billion and offset $1 billion of that by cutting funding for a program that helps the auto industry build energy-efficient cars.
The Senate would like to have $7 billion in disaster aid with no offsets.
If the two sides fail to come to an agreement by Sept. 30, the federal government will experience a shutdown starting on Oct. 1.