The Republican-led House defeated an amendment by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to offset some $17 billion in aid for victims of superstorm Sandy.
The vote on the amendment was 162-258. Republicans supported it by a 157-71 margin but Democratic opposition helped strike it down. It would have imposed a 1.63 percent across-the-board cut to discretionary spending.
Republican opponents fret that it would cut into defense and veterans' programs.
The vote split GOP leaders: Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA) voted for the amendment, while Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA) voted against it.
UPDATE: Via spokeswoman Stephanie Faile, Mulvaney issued a statement following the vote:
“While I certainly hoped my amendment to offset the cost of the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental Relief Bill would have passed, I was very encouraged that 162 Members, including several Democrats, agreed that we should find a way to pay for the relief the folks in the Northeast so desperately need. I believe this bodes well for future discussions about how to deal with emergency spending. I am especially pleased with the atmosphere of the debate, as it was respectful and reasonable on all sides. Even opponents of my amendment recognized that this amendment was not about denying assistance to anyone in need. I hope that we will use this experience to be even better stewards of taxpayer dollars going forward.”