Senate sources say Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is proposing a $3.65 billion increase for FEMA by using part of the $11.3 billion in additional disaster funding that was made available as part of the debt-ceiling agreement. Democrats pushed for this extra funding as part of that deal.
Using that funding allowed Reid to propose an increase equal to that found in the House proposal, without offsetting that increase or going above the $1.043 trillion discretionary spending cap. Democrats made it clear Friday that not “paying for” additional FEMA spending is a key demand of theirs.
The Senate’s failure to pass its own proposals has hampered its ability to shape final agreements on issues such as FY 2011 spending levels and the debt-ceiling deal. This could happen again if the Senate can’t approve Reid’s language, in which case the logjam could once again require help from the White House.
President Obama’s stamp of approval for some agreement would likely help deliver Senate approval, as it has in the past — although again, those agreements have tended to favor the House, given its ability to pass a proposal.
In the meantime, little else is scheduled for the week, as both chambers originally planned to be out of session. A House pro forma session at minimum is planned for noon Monday.