House passes two-week budget extension, averting gov’t shutdown for now

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 15:19 EDT
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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.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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  • Guest

    Maybe Congress Persons could reject their pay and benefits for a couple of months. That would help. Maybe they could also cancel pensions for previous Congresspersons too. That would put us nearer to black ink.

    But it certainly is much easier to stop funding social identities such as LIHEAP. The poor won’t care. They are used to suffering. Yeah…do that.

  • gypski®

    screw this agreement. Tax cuts for the super wealthy and not a fucking dime in COLA increases for Social Security or other disabled entitlement programs. Greedy fucking republicans and the go along democrat fucks. No representation for the underclass Americans. What a screw job our representatives are giving us and they aren’t giving up one fucking cent. Hypocrites all.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    Must have been pointed out to the ones living in their offices that they might have to pack up and go home if they closed down.

  • Anonymous

    OK but did you notice “$8 billon in cuts”
    As usual,the spinless HOUSE DEMS caved in to the “teabaggers”

  • godistwaddle

    Gunshy cowards. If you believe something–act on it. Otherwise, get the eff out of the way. Republicans: deferment baby cowards, remaining cowardly and hypocritical forever.

    If a republican near you catches on fire, laugh.

    Been ONE decent repub, TR, who quit the party as soon as he could. The rest would only benefit from hanging or the guillotine.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    you’re right they’re all spineless blow up dolls and low on air.