By Agri-Pulse staff
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 26- Senate Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement Monday night that will keep the government running until November 18 and provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the funds to continue disaster relief. The Senate approved the six-week continuing resolution (CR) with a 79-12 vote.
The Senate also approved a one-week stopgap measure to fund the government through Oct. 4, which will provide time for the House to return from this week's recess to consider the resolution.
“I hope the House will return to work this week and finish the job on this bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). “I am optimistic that we will be able to continue to find common ground as we work to address our nation's priorities over the next few months.”
The CR will provide FEMA $2.65 billion in funding next fiscal year. It does not contain any emergency spending for this fiscal year, so it will drop both the emergency spending and the energy department cut to offset that spending from last week's House-passed bill.
FEMA informed lawmakers that its disaster fund would be sufficient for the rest of the week, which is also the end of this fiscal year. FEMA officials previously told Congress that their funds would run out by this Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Quite frankly, I think this is a vindication of what Republicans have been saying all along: before we spend the taxpayers' money, we should have a real accounting of what's actually needed,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Before approving the bipartisan CR, the Senate rejected a Reid proposal with a 54-35 vote.
Reid's proposal, which would also fund the government through Nov. 18, included $3.65 billion in funding for FEMA. It did not include the $1.5 billion cut to an energy program included in last week's House-passed bill and he was unable to gain the Republican votes necessary to pass the proposal.
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