Republicans, Democrats accept agreement for disaster relief
After weeks of disputes and disagreements regarding disaster aid to flood ravaged areas, the Congress finally arrived at an agreement and averted a federal government shutdown.
The agreement ensures that the disaster affected states will get the required assistance and at the same time, the government’s functioning in the new budget year will also not be affected.
The agreement was reached when the Federal Emergency Management Agency indicated that the money it had was enough for disaster relief efforts, and lawmakers were able to abandon a $1 billion replenishment.
FEMA has enough funds
A spokeswoman for the FEMA, Rachel Racusen said that the agency had $114 million left in its coffers, and this would last till the final business day of the budget year.
The exact timing, however, according to Racusen would depend on the number of aid victims applying for aid, or on fresh occurrence of disasters.
The measure was approved by the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 79-12.
The democratic controlled Senate then sent it to the Republican controlled House for the final approval.
Compromise between Democrats and Republicans
The issues over disaster funding had led to major battles between the Democrats and the Republicans, with the Democrats accusing Republicans of making disaster victims pawns in a political game, and the Republicans questioning the priorities of the Democrats.
Now, with this agreement, they seem to have arrived at a compromise.
“This compromise should satisfy Republicans… and it should satisfy Democrats… It’s a win for everyone," Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid was quoted as saying.
According to Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell
of Kentucky, “…it was a responsible way to keep the government operational.”
Since the house is on a one-week break, it is unclear as to when the bill will be cleared for President Barack Obama’s signature.
The agreement, however, assures funding until Nov. 18.