The Republicans went through all of that trouble holding disaster relief funds hostage, making themselves look like assholes in the process, and now they have nothing to show for it thanks to Harry Reid’s persistence.
On the Senate floor late Monday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced an agreement by which the Senate (and presumably the House) can dispense with all the sturm und drang about offsetting disaster aid and pass legislation that will keep the entire government — including FEMA — open after September.
The measure passed 79-12.
What ultimately broke the impasse was FEMA’s announcement Monday that it won’t run out of funds early this week — a presumption House Republicans had hoped would force Senate Democrats to accept a partisan budget cut, on the threat that disaster victims would otherwise be deprived of assistance for days or even weeks.
Indeed, according to a Senate Democratic aide, FEMA has assured Congress that they will be flush through the end of the fiscal year on Friday night — no need, in other words, for a supplemental funding bill.
When the need for emergency funds disappeared, though, so did the GOP’s leverage and at the last minute Reid introduced a compromise: Clean legislation to fund the government — including more money for FEMA, no offsets.
In other words — after the Republicans realized that their FEMA hostages were actually crash-test dummies, not real humans who could be used as leverage, they dropped their opposition and passed the bill 79 to 12.
How noble of them.