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Shutdown looms as Congress debates spending plan today

Photo by Laura McCallister

Photo by Laura McCallister

— The standoff continues Monday between the House and the Senate over emergency funding, which is holding up a short-term spending measure to keep government running into the new fiscal year that begins this weekend.

The measure includes additional money to fill the almost depleted emergency aid coffers of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Army Corps of Engineers following Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, wildfires and tornadoes so far this year.

House Republicans have passed a bill that cuts spending elsewhere to offset some of the increased disaster relief aid. Democrats oppose offsets for emergency aid, saying disaster relief for Americans in need should be unencumbered. The Democratic-led Senate rejected the House measure on Friday by a 59-36 vote.

The package would fund the government for the first seven weeks of the new fiscal year that starts Saturday

For the third time in six months, a partial government shutdown is possible if the Republican-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate fail to agree on the short-term spending plan by Friday -- the end of the current fiscal year.

The measure currently under deliberation -- which would keep Washington running through November 18 -- includes critical new disaster funding assistance for states hit hard by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and a series of recent wildfires and tornadoes.

Check back for updates as they become available.