With backing from Senate Democrats, House Republicans on Friday unveiled a three-week continuing resolution that would cut another $6 billion in federal spending and keep the government running through April 8.
The GOP proposal, introduced by Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (Ky.), includes $3.5 billion in programmatic cuts and eliminates $2.6 billion in earmarked accounts. It is the second short-term CR in recent weeks; the current short-term CR expires March 18.
House Republican leaders earlier this week said they had begun work on the second short-term CR aimed at averting a government shutdown while they negotiate a longer-term spending bill with Senate Democrats and the White House to fund the government through the end of the year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Tuesday that he is opposed to another short-term spending bill, but Friday he signed on to the extension.
“I am glad that we were able to come to an agreement with Republicans on a three-week Continuing Resolution made up of cuts already proposed by Democrats that will also be free of any ideological, special-interest legislation,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. “However, we can’t continue to run our government two or three weeks at a time.”
In a statement, Rogers defended the proposal as necessary.
“While short-term funding measures are not the preferable way to fund the government, we must maintain critical programs and services for the American people until Congress comes to a final, long-term agreement,” he said.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the proposal includes “common-sense spending cuts” and that House Republicans would continue to negotiate a bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year “that includes significant and serious spending cuts.”
“Though there are visible divisions in the Democrat party, we hope that our friends on the other side of the aisle will work with the President and join us on a measure to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year that contains serious spending cuts and makes Washington begin to live within its means,” the Virginia Republican said in a statement.
The lack of policy riders, meanwhile, comes as Tea Party Caucus Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) continue to wage what appears to be a lonely battle to attach a rider defunding the new health care law — a move that would almost assuredly trigger a government shutdown.
It also keeps Planned Parenthood operating and allows the District of Columbia government to be able to spend its own money on abortions and needle exchange programs for at least another month, among other things.
“The goal is to keep the measure as clean as possible so it has the best possible chance of moving forward in the Senate,” said Jeff Connor, a spokesman for Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that handles the Washington, D.C., budget.
Steven T. Dennis and Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.