House Republicans today unveiled the latest stop-gap government funding measure to avert a shutdown one week from now.
The Continuing Resolution, or CR, is designed to give lawmakers more time to negotiate a larger bill to fund government operations for the remaining half of the current fiscal year.
The latest extension keeps the government operating for another three weeks and cuts a total of $6 billion from fiscal year 2011 spending.
The cuts include earmarks, unused funds for the census and numerous programs that President Obama had already proposed to cut such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which includes PBS and NPR.GOP leaders chose a "clean" CR free of so-called "riders" to cut favored Democratic programs like the National Endowment(s) for the Arts and the Humanities and Planned Parenthood.
At a mid-day news conference the president specifically complained that such riders are little more than political statements.
"Let's not try to sneak political agendas into a budget bill," Mr. Obama said.
Republican leaders are trying to calm down a handful of House Tea Party freshman and fiscal conservatives who are losing patience with all the short term extensions. Some potential GOP rebels have threatened to oppose the CR to force a fight with Democrats over the rest of the year's spending plan right now.
But after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., met with the freshman yesterday, most of the threats subsided and leadership sources are confident the House will pass the measure on Tuesday.GOP leaders are particularly irked by Republicans Steve King of Iowa and Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. The two have tried repeatedly to persuade the leadership to include provisions in the CR that would strip some $105 billion in implementation funds for the president's healthcare reform overhaul. The GOP controlled Rules Committee has repeatedly ruled their proposed amendments to rescind that money out of order.
On the other side of the aisle, of course, President Obama has problems from centrists.
Eleven members of the Senate Democratic caucus have called for deeper cuts than the president has so far proposed and many more have complained that the president is not adequately engaged in the bargaining.
Mr. Obama today shrugged off complaints from fellow Democrats."It shouldn't be that complicated. And so what I've done is, every day I talk to my team, I give them instructions in terms of how they can participate in the negotiations."
So far that has been unsatisfactory to Democratic Congressional leaders.
The House Rules Committee will meet Monday to outline the parameters for debate on the next 3 week CR.
The House is expected to debate and pass the measure Tuesday. That leaves the Senate three days to act and send the bill to the president to sign. Then once again the focus returns to a larger plan for the rest of the year, one that should have been completed by October first of last year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Wall Street Journal Friday if the president doesn't step in to help "craft a broad deficit-reduction deal," no Senate Republicans will vote for a debt ceiling increase as they look at long-term plans for deficit reduction.