The funding for the federal government got wrapped up into the debate about FEMA funding and they became tied together. Speaker Boehner had assumed and hoped that the stopgap bill to keep government operating until November 18 would be a routine matter, as such resolutions usually are. Instead, the matter blew up and illustrated that his control of the House majority only exists on paper.
The government’s funding will run out Friday evening, September 30, if something is not passed by then. Of course both Democrats and Republicans have repeatedly said that they do not want a government shutdown and they do not want to have FEMA run out of funds. However, just how they are going to achieve that is anything but clear.
So House Republicans decided to blame the Senate and its Majority Leader Harry Reid for the impasse. Led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), they contend that the Senate is responsible for blocking desperately needed disaster dollars from flowing to FEMA.
“Harry Reid is now talking about perhaps bringing up a clean CR without disaster relief funding,” Cantor said, and that the House acted to provide the disaster relief. “If that happens, FEMA will run out of money, and it will be on Harry Reid’s shoulders because he won’t act,” Cantor said.
For the record, in October 2004, Cantor voted against an amendment to an emergency supplemental bill for disaster aid that would have "fully offset" the cost of that supplemental with "a proportional reduction of FY05 discretionary funding" elsewhere. The 2004 emergency supplemental bill was proposed after five hurricanes hit the United States. Tropical Storm Gaston, that year, brought damage to Cantor's home district of Richmond.
Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner shrugged off the defeat as the price of trying to get legislation through the democratic process. "I have no fear in allowing the House to work its will," he said. "Does it make my life a little more difficult? Yes it does." Boehner added, "There is no threat of a government shutdown. Let's just get this out there."