“The only reason someone might be holding up this bill today is because… my friends on the other side of the aisle, the Republicans, don’t want the Senate to vote on disaster assistance,” said Reid.
Reid was referring to a House bill that renews sanctions on the ruling military junta in Myanmar that Senate Democratic leadership are using as a vehicle for a Senate-originated bill to further fund FEMA.
Reid pointed out that among the unusually high number of tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires that have plagued the country this year, FEMA needs funding more than ever and said he could not see how his Republican counterparts could call for low levels of funding in the face of such tragedy.
“I would think twice if I was one of my Republican friends… if I had gone over some of these areas where these tornado and fires and other natural disasters had occurred,” said Reid. “[W]e are not going to accept some small number the House accepts."
The Senate Monday afternoon is set to vote on a cloture motion to precede H.J.Res. 66, the motion to renew sanctions on Burma.
FEMA funding, which was approved on Tuesday in the Senate Appropriations homeland security subcommittee as part of Department of Homeland Security's 2012 appropriations, amounts to $6 billion, which is $4.2 billion more funding than is provided by the House bill and $666 million below fiscal 2011 appropriations.