In an unexpected development that makes government shutdown more likely, a bill to fund the government through November 18 has failed over attached spending cuts to pay for disaster relief for Hurricane Irene victims, The Hill's Pete Kasperowicz reports. As Slate's Dave Weigel notes, Republican leaders had said they wouldn't hold disaster aid "hostage" to spending cuts, but they attached a measure that would have cut funding to a Department of Energy program anyway. Forty-three Republicans voted against the bill, and just six Democrats voted for it. Government funding runs out September 30.
Kasperowicz explains what the parties were fighting about:
Funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was by far the most controversial element in the bill. Aside from falling short of demands from Republicans and Democrats for more FEMA funds, Democrats in particular objected to a $1.5 billion cut to the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which helped pay for the FEMA increase.