In a strong move, House Democratic leadership has started whipping against the Republican government funding bill that would also cut a green manufacturing program in order to provide additional—and inadequate—disaster relief funding. The Senate is demanding a higher level of FEMA aid, without offsets from cutting other programs.
"Democratic Members are urged to vote NO on the previous question and the bill -- as disasters are an emergency and we should not have to cut good-paying American jobs to provide essential disaster relief for families, small businesses, and communities," reads a memo from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office.
Their hard line follows an internal whip effort by House progressives, and a letter authored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and cosigned by 100 Dems, urging House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to scrap the offset, which nixes a hybrid vehicle incentive.
"While the government has a responsibility to fund disaster response in places that were devastated by Hurricane Irene or other natural disasters, it is unconscionable to use funds designed to create jobs in manufacturing states to pay for it," the letter reads.
Making all this slightly more interesting on the Senate side (as if a government shutdown over whether the nation should be responding to the massive natural disasters we've had this year isn't interesting enough), none other than Republican Sen. David Vitter has attempted to get expedited loan funding under the program the House GOP wants to cut. Vitter pressed the Department of Energy to expedite the loan application to "help mitigate our state's continued high unemployment rate."
12:13 PM PT: The first House vote on the continuing resolution could come in an hour or so.
2:18 PM PT: The vote is happening now, and according to POLITICO's reporting, Boehner might be sweating this one.
Speaking to a closed meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning, the Ohio Republican made it clear to his GOP colleagues that he was ready to move to strip members of committee assignments if they defy theleadership on the government funding measure headed for a vote this evening.
The message, according to several member and aides, was that Boehner said that committee assignments were decided by the House Republican Conference, and members should be willing to pass the party’s legislation.
2:44 PM PT: And the Republican lost, 195 - 230, with (at my last count) 47 Rs voting against, and 6 Dems voting for.