CT and other House Dems join Tea Party conservatives to block spending bill

All five of Connecticut’s U.S. House members voted against a stop-gap funding bill for fiscal year 2012 on Wednesday that included billions of dollars in federal disaster aid. They were part of an odd alliance with Tea Party conservatives who helped defeat the legislation in a surprise rebuke to House GOP leaders.

Rep. John Larson and others voted “no” vote on the funding bill mainly because House Republicans have included a $1 billion cut in funding from an advanced technology vehicle loan program, as a way to pay for $1 billion in extra disaster aid for fiscal year 2011.

The prospects for the disaster aid legislation are now unclear. The Senate has passed a different version-a nearly $7 billion bill that would replenish the federal Disaster Relief Fund for this year and all of 2012. Larson and others hope the Senate bill, which doesn’t include any cuts to offset the new disaster aid costs, will prevail.

Lawmakers face an immediate deadline to resolve the impasse, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency quickly running out of money and a congressional break scheduled for next week.