House Kills Spending Bill With Disaster Relief Funds

BY Linda J. Scott  September 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM EDT

A bill that would fund the U.S. government past Sept. 30 unexpectedly failed in the House of Representatives Wednesday evening as 43 Republicans broke with party leaders and Democrats objected to a cut to an electric-vehicle program they said will cuts jobs.

U.S. Capitol; photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe measure would also have provided $3.7 billion for disaster relief as part of a bill to keep the government running through mid-November.

The measure failed by a vote of 195 to 230. Harold Rogers, chairman of the House appropriations bill who brought the bill to the floor said he was “disappointed” so many Republicans didn’t support the bill. An aide to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said she was “shocked” at the vote count and said the leadership took action on the bill based on assurances from Democrats that they would support the bill. Those Democrats announced earlier they would not vote for the legislation.

With congressional approval rating already at an all-time low and voters lacking confidence in lawmakers’ inability to perform such basic tasks as funding the government, it was seen as a big loss for the Republican leadership. Rogers said the bill had a lot of problems.

“This is a democracy,” Rogers said. “And this is the sausage factory. People who sell sausage don’t want you to see behind the doors.”

Rogers said discussions will continue to determine a way forward, but no more votes are expected Wednesday evening.