Tea Party dispute hits disaster aid
A dispute over a tiny fraction of the US federal budget has blown up into a full budget crisis.
As a result, disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Irene and the devastating tornadoes of earlier this year could be shut off from today.
What would normally have been a procedural vote to keep the government funded into November has become the latest flashpoint for the Tea Party movement of fiscally conservative Republicans.
They argued that even disaster relief funding must be paid for by offsetting cuts elsewhere in the government's budget.
Democrats are refusing to concede to Republican demands for cuts to government programmes that provide lending for green energy companies and car companies developing new fuel-efficient technologies.
As the dispute continued, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was scrambling to stretch its budget to the end of the week.
The repeat threat of shutdowns this year has sapped the public's already limited patience with Congress. Its approval rating is at an all-time low of 12pc. (© Independent News Service)