In a setting similar to the prelude of the 16-day government shutdown in 2013, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate are once again in a funding standoff. The issue is over aide to Flint – the city in Michigan hit hard with lead poisoning in the water. Republicans are arguing the funding is already available via the Water Resources Development Act, but Democrats say that’s not good enough.
The GOP had unveiled their latest funding bill on Thursday, one that provided $500 million in monetary relief to flood victims in Louisiana, Maryland, and West Virginia. Bear in mind, this was the latest GOP version after Democrats cried foul over “conservative policy riders” within the bill. Senate Majority Leader McConnell came back with the latest version to find it still not good enough for leadership on the other side of the aisle. Democrats are claiming the current funding bill is politically motivated for it does not provide relief to the residents of Flint.
The Senate will vote on Tuesday. The deadline to get a funding bill passed is October 1st. If the vote fails (which is all but certain), leaders will have to go back to the drawing boards. We have yet to see where negotiations will lead to next, but both sides seem to be holding firm. Republicans were happy, though, to see Senator Bill Nelson (D) of Florida announce support for the current funding measure, giving GOP leaders hope the other side will eventually cave.
Meanwhile, The Obama White House has made clear they will not get involved and it’s up to congressional leaders to reach a solution to the government funding woes.