WASHINGTON – While Hurricane Wilma (search) drives full force toward the southern United States, lawmakers bicker over how to pay for relief and recovery for hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
House Republicans have vowed to cut between $35 billion and $50 billion in spending to help pay for expensive disaster relief but GOP leaders can't find a plan to appease both sides of the political aisle to garner the necessary 218 votes.
Click in the video box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' Brian Wilson.
Nonetheless, acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt (search) quibbles with suggestions that House Republicans are divided.
"I don't think the conference is very divided at all," Blunt said. "One thing you learn if you are the whip though is that 90 percent of our conference ... isn't 218. It takes about 94 percent of our conference to be ready to move in a specific direction."
But votes like hurricane relief bills were routine for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search), R-Texas. DeLay, known also as "the Hammer" for his ability to hammer through legislation, would push through bills that didn't have the votes by holding the vote open until he could personally twist arms until he would prevail.
House Democrats, who are against many of the big budget cuts sought to pay for hurricane relief while not driving up the deficit, are enjoying what they say is a Republican party in disarray.
"The budget reconciliation that we'll talk about next week or the next week, whenever you guys can get your stuff together, proposes huge cuts in important programs," taunted Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., from the House floor.
With DeLay busy facing down his legal troubles and scheduled to attend an arraignment hearing Friday in Texas, GOP leaders and Blunt are left on their own in Washington to deal with disagreements.
But DeLay continues to attend GOP strategy sessions. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (search) of California said it's an example of a party falling apart.
"I think that the fact that Tom Delay is still involved in leadership decisions on the Republican side, if that is so, is a reflection of the tolerance that the Republican conference has for the culture of corruption and cronyism in the House of Representatives," Pelosi said.
Despite criticism, Republicans are still attracting more contributors than Democrats, by a 2-1 margin in the third quarter of the year, party officials said Thursday.
The Republican National Committee, with $34 million in the bank, raised more than $19 million in the third quarter of the year, compared to the Democratic National Committee's $10.7 million, with $6.8 million on hand. RNC officials have raised $78.5 million this year, said Brian Jones, a RNC spokesman. DNC officials have pulled in $39.2 million, said Josh Earnest, a DNC spokesman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.