Reid Will Try to Add More Disaster Aid to Stopgap Funding

Posted September 20, 2011 at 10:22am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he plans to boost disaster funding in stopgap legislation that will fund the federal government through Nov. 18 and which the House is expected pass and send to the Senate on Wednesday.

“Tomorrow, when the Senate receives the House bill to fund the government for six more weeks, we will amend it,” Reid said on the floor this morning.

His comments come after the Senate last week passed its own Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funding bill, which would provide about $7 billion. The Senate measure would provide more than the House provision in the continuing resolution, which would provide $3.6 billion and offsets about $1 billion of that amount.

“I was disappointed to see that the House shortchanged the Federal Emergency Management Agency by failing to provide the funding to adequately help Americans whose lives have been devastated by floods, hurricanes and tornados,” Reid continued.

“Last week, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill granting FEMA and other agencies that help disaster victims an additional $6.9 billion. That funding will help rebuild after several costly natural disasters, including Hurricane Irene,” Reid said.

The Senate passed its disaster bill Thursday, 62-37, with 10 Republicans from states affected by recent natural disasters voting with Democrats. But it is unclear if those GOP Senators will stay with Democrats in this standoff with House Republican leaders. Reid all but dared them to vote against the amendment.

“Of course, I know this amendment will enjoy the support of my Republican colleagues, as it did just last week, when a bipartisan group of Senators agreed that helping communities destroyed by natural disasters was too important to let politics get in the way,” Reid said.