House GOP leaders on Friday sought to turn the tide in the war of words over a potential government shutdown, charging that if Senate Democrats reject their two-week, short-term spending bill, they would be responsible for any lapse in funding.
The bill, which will be formally introduced Friday afternoon, makes $4 billion in cuts to spending using a series of funding terminations President Barack Obama has called for in his fiscal year 2012 budget request, as well as zeroing out earmarks that have previously been funded.
Noting Democrats and the White House have already backed those cuts, Republicans argued a rejection of the bill would be a purely political decision.
“Any Democrat who can’t take these basic steps is putting politics before people,” Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) said Friday on a conference call with reporters.
“If Senate Democrats walk away from this offer, they are actively engineering a government shutdown,” House Chief Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam (Ill.) added.
Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and other top Democrats have largely rejected the House proposal, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) noted there are reportedly a handful of Senate Democrats who may be willing to back the bill and who could form the basis of an agreement.
“The fact that they may be willing to cut some spending may be an indication that they’re willing to take a small step in the right direction,” Cantor said.