A one-week stopgap spending bill passed the House Thursday as Speaker John Boehner (above) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid try to work out a deal on a long-term measure funding the government through September.
The bill, agreed to by a largely partisan 247-181 vote, would also cut discretionary spending by $12 billion. However, because the Defense portion of the bill includes $6 billion in additional spending, the total cuts to the federal budget would be roughly $6 billion.
Republicans also beat back an effort by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) to pass a straight one-week continuing resolution that would maintain current spending levels.
The vote comes as Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) continue to try to work out a deal on a long-term measure funding the government through the end of September. Boehner and Reid met again at the White House on Thursday afternoon with Obama but emerged with no agreement. Negotiators on the Hill are continuing to meet, and both leaders are heading back to the White House at 7 p.m.
"It's not easy to do, but it's doable," Reid said on getting a deal as he left the White House meeting.
Earlier Thursday, both leaders expressed skepticism that they can complete a deal before a government shutdown happens at midnight Friday.
“We made some progress. Or at least I thought we did. But when I see what the White House has to offer today, it's more of the same,” Boehner told reporters.
Reid blamed Boehner for the slowdown in negotiations. When asked if he was concerned that Boehner had little desire to come to an agreement, Reid said, “Yes I am.”
“We have bent, bent, bent as much as the caucus will bend,” Reid said, blaming the tea party for scuttling the talks and pushing for a shutdown.
“They are cheering for it,” Reid said.
He added that House leaders “changed their tune completely” overnight and that talks broke down Thursday morning on women’s health and clean air. “They know it, we know it,” Reid said, adding that Boehner can “stretch things all he wants,” but the truth is those two issues are holding everything up.
Majority Whip Dick Durbin said negotiators were “working on a list of agreeable riders.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.