NPR logo House Lawmakers Double Down On Dysfunction; Fail To Pass Spending Bill

House Lawmakers Double Down On Dysfunction; Fail To Pass Spending Bill

Revised on Sept. 22, 2011 at 8:33 am —

In a move that will do nothing to boost its already remarkably low voter approval ratings, the House failed Wednesday to pass legislation that would keep the government open past Sept. 30.

The continuing resolution was defeated on a 195-to-230 vote, with 48 Republicans joining Democrats to thwart a bill House GOP leaders thought they had the votes for.

Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia once again found themselves in a familiar spot — stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The rock was House Democrats who objected to Republican efforts to pay for $3.7 billion in FEMA disaster funding with offsetting cuts to an advanced technology program Democrats insisted was needed to maintain tens of thousands of auto industry jobs.

Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California said:

"I have serious objection to the pay for in this legislation. I have a bigger objection that we would have to pay for a disaster. We never paid for the tax cuts for the rich. They never were paid for. We never paid for the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. They were never paid for.

In appealing for passage of the legislation, Rep. Harold Rogers of Kentucky, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, noted that the House had in the past voted to offset disaster relief spending.

Rogers: In fact, while the gentlelady was speaker of this House, we did just that. We voted to offset the funding for Hurricane Katrina in '06 and '07. We voted for offsets for disaster relief in '08, '09 and lastly in 2010, we voted to offset $10 billion for what was called the Pelosi Edujobs stimulus bill. The gentlelady voted for that offset.

The hard place was Tea Party Republicans who wanted deeper cuts than were in the bill.

It was the latest in a series of votes on must-pass legislation that left the Republican leadership appearing to be at the far from tender mercies of the firebrands in their rank and file.

It's just another day of dysfunction in the nation's capital.

(The original post was revised to add Rogers' response to Pelosi.)