WASHINGTON – The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a GOP-offered one-week stopgap measure just before it passed the Republican-led House 247-181 with less than 36 hours before government funding would run out.
“This bill is a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise for funding the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and avert a disruptive Federal Government shutdown that would put the Nation’s economic recovery in jeopardy,” the White House said in a statement.
“If presented with this bill, the President will veto it.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) immediately fired back, warning that vetoing the bill would mean that U.S. soldiers fighting in wars abroad don’t get paid.
“To be clear, if the President vetoes this bill and shuts the government down, our men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world will not be paid,” Cantor said. “Our troops must be paid, our country is broke, and we are committed to fixing that. I urge the President revisit his decision and work with us.”
U.S. service men and women won’t receive paychecks for the duration of a shutdown, but will be paid in full once Congress appropriates money.
The bill isn’t likely to make any progress in the Senate.
The bickering continued Thursday as a meeting late Wednesday night between President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) failed to produce a budget agreement. The three are meeting again this afternoon.
Reid said in the morning that he’s less optimistic about reaching a deal than he was after last night’s meeting, conceding that a shutdown is coming Friday at midnight when funding runs out.
Note: This article has been updated to report House passage of the stopgap bill.
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