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.

  • Anonymous

    It’s time to take the Republicans out. This shows they don’t have the power and they don’t think they have public support on their side. Its time for the Democrats to exert some muscle and drive a stake in them.

  • Anonymous

    It’s the legions that are bankrupting us. It’s republicans that deploy and enable most spending on the legions. Their wealth and profits are blood stained.

  • Anonymous

    What does anyone believe Noodle legs and his White House will do!

    This give Obama and democrats more “time to sell US” on the BS of not being able to stop these corporate republican in making cuts to middle class , workers , seniors and poor.

    We are being axed right out of this country.

    These Global Monopolies , which are mostly foreign today , will own this country lock , stock and barrow. Or has that already happened

    They had NO problem extending the Bush tax cuts to the top 2 percent , plus other huge tax welfare for the wealthy.

    Now that they have moved that item from their agenda , they can get down to helping pass the Corporate republican cuts to the Workers , Seniors and Poor.

    They have their axe sharpen and really to cut to the bone.

    The actions of these elected officials show just who these representatives are working for. It certainly is no longer for you and me.
    Their lack of b.lls in standing up to these Corporate republicans and selling US the BS they are trying.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s how one of my favorite journalists, David Froomkin, described the vote and what it means for the Republicans and their erstwhile teaparty pouting compatriots.

    “UPDATE at 4:21 PM ET: The House has just passed a two-week funding measure to avert a government shutdown. It includes $4 billion in budget cuts for the rest of the fiscal year — but continues to fund Obama’s healthcare law (for those two weeks). Six Republicans voted against, which means most of the Tea Party Caucus voted in favor. The Tea Partiers will presumably be furious. But there’s another, much bigger battle to come — about the funding measure that covers the rest of the fiscal year.

    A boisterous first meeting of the House’s Tea Party Caucus on Monday night exposed two potential rifts — one between its members and state-level Tea Party activists, who have no appetite for compromise, and another between its members and Republican Party leaders, who will soon be asking them to do just that.”

    In other words healthcare survived and will continue to be funded and Michele Bachmann will if anything continue to spin even more frantically out of control. The destruction within the Republican party should be a joy ot watch. The more rabid teapertiers are threatening to primary anyone who doesn’t vote for even more drastic cuts. It will be good to see the Republicans spending all kinds of money on intraparty primary struggles.

    This is some admittance that the Republicans realize that they don’t have the power to do most of the things that they keep working to pass. Instead of $61 billion they are settling for $8 billion in cuts. And they are only going to fund two more weeks. So they will have to go through this all again. The other possibility is that they are planning to do the death by a thousand cuts which is run a few billion in cuts for each extension but it doesn’t appear that way because it that is what Boehner and crew were doing it would appear that some of the teapartiers would have a clue. What a joke!!!!

    The teaparty compatriots are furious and getting more and more ferocious with each passing day that they don’t get their way. They want no compromise. Good Luck with that!

    Froomkin’s piece can be found at:


  • Anonymous

    Have ye created a single fecking job, Johnny Boy?

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely agree with your take on this bullshit but we really can’t depend on the WH or the Senate Democrats to show any real support for your position. The “BLUEDOGS” will undermine any resolve on this issue just as they have on so many others.

  • Anonymous

    Like that is really going to happen. The Demo pigs are just as greedy as the Rethugs.

  • Nickelthrower


    These actions just bring us closer to our Libyan moment. Sooner or later the bottom 50% will finally realize that they control less than 2% of the wealth of this nation and riot. Our endless wars of aggression will be brought to an immediate halt so those troops can be brought home for “police” duty. These are very dangerous times.

    Finally, Libya produces only 2% of the world’s oil and the temporary loss of that oil panicked Wall Street. It wasn’t the 2% loss that scared everyone but the simple fact that there is not enough production anywhere, to include Saudi Arabia, to make up the difference. How are we ever going to have that recovery with the cost of energy skyrocketing?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Boner, guess which finger I’m giving you?

  • Brimstone Hill

    “If American families can do with less, there’s no reason why the government can’t do with less.
    Mr Speaker……….The Government includes you and your comrade’s pay checks.
    Wanna cut the debt and do with less? Start with your own bloated salaries, end the fucking imperialist invasions of other countries, stop bailing out Wall St and Oil St.
    Make the Bankers, Oil Dynasties, and Corporations pay their share of the burden.
    Unless you “propose” these things…….STFU