In a rebuke to GOP leaders, the House today rejected a measure providing $3.7 billion for disaster relief as part of a bill to keep the government running through mid-November. The surprise 230-195 defeat came at the hands of Democrats and Tea Party Republicans. Democrats were opposed because the measure contains $1.5 billion in cuts to a government loan program to help car companies build fuel-efficient vehicles. For their part, many GOP conservatives felt the underlying bill permits spending at too high a rate.
The outcome sends House Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team back to the drawing board as they seek to make sure the government doesn't shut down at the end of next week. It also raises the possibility that FEMA could run out of money early next week for victims of Hurricane Irene and other disasters. The underlying stopgap funding measure would finance the government through Nov. 18 to give lawmakers more time to try to reach agreement on 12 unfinished spending bills. (Read more government shutdown stories.)