(Host) Members of Vermont’s congressional delegation find themselves in the center of the latest battle in Washington over federal spending.
This time the dispute centers around money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for flood recovery and other disasters.
The House finally passed a bill yesterday that provides a little more than $3.5 billion to the FEMA.
That’s only about half what the Senate has voted for FEMA. And Congressman Peter Welch says it’s not enough.
(Welch) "This is definitely a down payment. I spoke directly to Speaker Boehner and he told me that a) we’ll get the money, and b) this is a down payment."
(Host) But the House funded the downpayment by offsetting the spending on FEMA with cuts in Energy Department programs.
Democrats fiercely oppose that provision, and Senate leaders say they’ll defeat the House plan as soon as it’s put to a vote.
Senator Bernie Sanders sides with the Democrats on that question.
(Sanders) "I think it’s an outrage. I think for the first time in the modern history of our country, right wing extremists are now saying that disaster relief will not be available to communities that have been devastated."
(Host) At the moment, congressional leaders haven’t found a way around the impasse.
The disagreement also threatens to shut down the federal government if it’s not resolved by the time the new fiscal year begins on October first.
There’s also concern in Washington that FEMA’s disaster fund could run out of money as early as Monday.