House GOP, Dems blame each other for spending mess as work on CR begins

During debate on the rule for the resolution, Republicans also said Senate inaction on any spending bills this year is a major reason why a temporary spending bill is needed. The rule was ultimately approved in a 238-185 vote.

"This is not a departure from our path of resorting fiscal sanity," Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) said during afternoon debate. "We're committed to continuing on that path, but unfortunately, the actions of the other body leave us no choice but to consider this continuing resolution today."

Democrats rejected this, and said the temporary spending bill shows Republicans have failed to keep their promise to bring regular order back to the appropriations process.

"We're here today because our colleagues in the Republican majority have failed," said Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the House Rules Committee.

Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) took exception to that, noting that Democrats did not pass any budget bill last year, when they controlled the House.

"We inherited beginning this year … a hell of a mess," Dreier said. "I mean, it was a big mess that we inherited."

As expected, Democrats also objected to the $3.65 billion in new funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that is offset with cuts from other programs. That's less than the $6.9 billion the Senate plans to try attaching to the resolution once the House approves it.

"Please don't tell me that it's all about balancing the budget and ending emergency spending that isn't paid for," Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) said of GOP demands that FEMA money be offset. "The continuing resolution that we are debating today includes money to continue the misguided war in Afghanistan, to the tune of $10 billion each month. None of it is paid for, not a penny."

The bill would help fund $1 billion of new FEMA funds by taking funding away from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. Democrats have said this takes money away from what they call a jobs program, and indicated this offset is a big part of the reason why they will oppose the bill today.

Slaughter said she would seek to attach the Senate proposal to the House bill today, but this is a near-impossibility, given Republican opposition.

Republicans argued that the House proposal offers twice as much FEMA funding than President Obama's request, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Republicans would agree to provide whatever FEMA funds are needed for disaster relief. But Democrats rejected the idea of offsetting FEMA aid with other cuts.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said requiring offsets is the "most stingy, short-sighted, poorest form of representative government I've ever seen. It is outrageous to tell Americans facing disaster that you don't et any help unless you can find how to squeeze it out somewhere."

The Senate threat to attach more FEMA funding to the resolution has raised the prospect of a government shutdown, as Senate Democrats say they will not budge from their request. Failure to reach a final agreement this week could also lead to a decision to return next week to finish work on the bill — both the House and Senate plan to be out of town, at least as of Wednesday.

-- This story was updated at 3:05 p.m. and again at 3:36 p.m. to reflect the rule vote.