Washington (CNN) - One week before a potential government shutdown, Senate Democrats for the first time reacted positively to an offer from House Republicans that would keep the government running for two more weeks while cutting $4 billion.
“The plan the Republicans are floating today sounds like a modified version of what Democrats were talking about” in a proposal made to Republicans Thursday, said Jon Summers, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
However, the Democratic offer Thursday was slightly different in that it was related to a longer-term spending bill that would last until October 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.
For the short-term bill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, told reporters Friday the $4 billion in spending cuts would come from terminating eight programs that President Obama included in his proposed 2012 budget and the elimination of earmarks, the same two areas Senate Democrats said Thursday they were considering.
Among other cuts, the Republican plan targets $650 million in highway funds, $200 million in housing funds and $250 million for a reading program at the Department of Education and eliminates a literacy program at that department which the administration labeled “ineffective.”
Republicans said the cuts they are offering are intended to find common ground with Democrats. “These are things that people have agreed to already," stressed House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy.
Democrats have accused Republicans of wanting indiscriminate budget cuts that would hit a wide swath of government programs – something that wouldn’t happen in this latest short-term proposal from the GOP because it is more targeted.
"If they walk away from this offer they are actively engineering a government shutdown, " House Deputy Whip Peter Roskam told reporters in a conference call Friday.
“We are encouraged to hear that Republicans are abandoning their demands for extreme measures like cuts to border security, cancer research and food safety inspectors and instead moving close to Democrat’s position that we should cut government spending in a smart, responsible way,” said Summers, the Reid’s spokesman.
The positive reaction from Democrats elicited an equally positive response from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who said, “There is now a clear path” to avoid a government shutdown.
House Republican leaders said they are pushing ahead on the short term measure which would allow more time for the House and Senate to negotiate a longer term spending bill for the rest of the year.
House Speaker John Boehner said he expects the measure will pass the House early next week, effectively tossing the ball into the Senate’s court.
“I’m hopeful Senator Reid will quickly hold a vote on our short-term proposal so we can ensure the government remains open and that we’re addressing the need to cut spending,” Boehner said.
So, basically, the Dems have essentially won this round in terms of which substantive cuts are being made, but the GOP will run around getting more press coverage and claiming it was all their doing. I fully expect to see 9 articles on the Ticker tomorrow that are GOP-centric and maybe 1 or 2 that have anything to do with Dems. Just check the Ticker from the past few weeks and you'll see there's ample evidence that's the pattern.
So is anyone from either party willing to cut there own pay, medical benefits, and pension plans, that is where the larger problem is? Our forefathers never meant for politicians to have a career in Washington DC, nor at a state level to where you actually retire as a politician. They (both parties) need to start practicing what they preach!
Now was that so hard?
They will make a compromise, old Newt Gingrich wants Government to shut down because he is in waiting for Boehner's job knowing full well he will never be President so he's really gunning for Boehner. But then again Boehner is an easy target.
Long as the top get what's they hurt along as it do not hurt their rich fr enids
The GOP initially said they would trim $100 BILLION then it went down to $61 Billion. They are beginning to realize that compromise may not be a bad idea. I believe they will go even further down to about $38 Billion.
Hey it's time federal workers join in with the cutting frenzy, Atleast to there pentions and health insurance, hell states are cutting, and the repugs will scAre every one to pieces if they ever try to raise taxes, so alot of people have to cut or lose their jobs,
Why is it always the Dems giving in? This just plain bites that the Republicans can BLACKMAIL this country!!!!!!!