Senate rejects House funding bill; shutdown looms

The Senate on Friday rejected the GOP-led House’s bill to avert a government shutdown, intensifying a partisan standoff that many in Congress hoped to avoid. The vote was 59-36.

Democrats in the Senate, who are in the majority, oppose Republican efforts to roll back “green” energy programs to pay for aid for victims of Hurricane Irene and other disasters. They say disaster aid, usually a bipartisan issue, should not require cuts elsewhere -- especially to programs creating green jobs -- as the GOP majority in the House now demands.

The two sides are racing the clock, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to run out of disaster money Monday.

Congress had planned to recess next week for the Jewish holiday.

House Speaker John A. Boehner on Friday acknowledged the difficulty he faced after his GOP majority pressed for steeper cuts. He indicated that a compromise with the Senate was not within reach.


“There wasn’t much progress made,” Boehner said after conferring with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the majority leader.

For the second time this year, the partisan warfare risks a government shutdown. The fiscal year ends next weekend.

The House narrowly passed its bill early Friday, in a post-midnight vote only after sweetening the legislation to attract conservatives. An earlier version was shot down this week after conservatives said it did not cut enough.

Republicans won votes by targeting a Department of Energy account used to support renewable energy firms--including Solyndra, the company with White House ties that drew controversy after receiving a $535-million loan guarantee the filing for bankruptcy.