House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said a great majority of Democrats will oppose the measure mostly in protest against a $1.5 billion offset in the bill to pay for disaster aid.
“I’m not the Whip,” Cantor said. “So I cannot opine, nor maybe would I, if I were the Whip, as to what the count [is].”
The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and Members have a recess scheduled for next week. House Democrats oppose the offset in their chamber’s spending bill, and Senate Democrats contend that the $3.6 billion disaster level in the House measure is inadequate. They also oppose the offset, and they argue that House Republicans are reneging on an agreement to provide as much as $11 billion over spending caps settled on in the deal to raise the debt ceiling.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Wednesday blamed House Republican leaders for the possibility of a government shutdown.
“We don’t need this,” Durbin said. “We have faced two previous threats this year from the tea-party-dominated House of Representatives.”
Senate Democrats and House Republicans squared off in the beginning of the year over funding for fiscal 2011 and in the summer over passage of legislation to raise the debt ceiling. Failure to come to agreement on those two issues would have resulted in government programs running out of money.
“At this perilous moment in economic history, we shouldn’t face a government shutdown again, and Republican leaders should not be suggesting that as an alternative,” Durbin said. “We need to work together.”
Humberto Sanchez and Jonathan Strong contributed to this story.