House passes two-week budget extension, averting gov’t shutdown for now
UPDATE: In a 335 to 91 vote, the House on Tuesday approved a package of legislation that would reduce spending by $8 billion and still provide funding for Congress through March 18.
The legislation now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily.
Original story continues below…
While the measure would appear to be the stop-gap needed to prevent a government shutdown on Friday, it’s still unclear whether Republicans and Democrats would be able to compromise during the intervening two weeks.
In spite of their track record for not so much as even speaking, House GOP leader John Boehner (R-OH) said he hoped that Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would ultimately come to see things his way.
“All of us know that cutting spending in Washington, DC never happens, and so to think that we’re going to have significant cuts in spending levels – it’s not going to be easy,” he said Tuesday, according to ABC News. “And I think I understand that, Senator Reid understands that, but I think all of us know that we are going to cut spending.”
House Republicans last week succeeded in passing a budget that eliminated over $60 billion in federal spending over the next seven months. Among the cuts was a complete debasement of funding for Planned Parenthood.
Republicans mainly focused on spending for domestic and social programs their benefactors dislike, such as food aid for the poor and housing aid for veterans, even dealing a $1.6 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency while continuing over $4 billion in subsidies to oil companies.
Republicans, who were elected after campaigning on growing the number of jobs, took a lump for their budget earlier this week by way of Moody’s Analytics. The firm issued a report saying their budget cuts would ultimately kill over 700,000 jobs by the end of next year.
Sen. Reid has refused to bring up the House Republicans’ budget, objecting to the nature of the cuts and a series of policy changes in the House legislation that would limit the president’s ability to act on numerous issues: thus the showdown.
“I think we’re taking a responsible path forward to keep the government open and to meet our commitment to cut spending,” Boehner added. “The American people want us to get our fiscal house in order and this is a step in the right direction.
“If American families can do with less, there’s no reason why the government can’t do with less. And I’m hopeful that the Senate will get serious about dealing with the long-term CR and to fund our government.”
If Democrats and Republicans agree to simply pass a two week extension at slightly reduced levels, Friday’s looming deadline will be averted. Still, it seemed doubtful that they can formulate any long-term solutions before March 18.