Senate GOP largely quiet as Dems score points over disaster funding bill

All but six Senate Republicans banded together on Monday to block $6.9 billion to fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from advancing on the grounds that the bill cost too much.

So far the only Republican who defended his vote, at length, from the Senate floor was Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who said that such an expensive bill demanded more careful scrutiny. 

“Has anybody given any serious thought to that?" asked Sessions on Monday. “Seven billion dollars? The state of Alabama’s general budget is $2 billion. Seven billion is a lot of money. We have not looked at it, we have not thought about it.” 

On Tuesday Democrats lectured their Republican colleagues from the Senate floor, arguing that in such a time of emergency lawmakers should not worry about how to pay for assistance needed as soon as possible.

"When your neighbor’s house is on fire, you don’t haggle over the price of the garden hose," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). “Get the hose and put that fire out.”

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) also said there would be time to figure out how to pay for the bill in the future.

“It’s not time, to my friends on the other side of the aisle, to sit on our hands or get out your green eyeshade and pencil and figure out how to take care of this this week. We have all year to do that."