Washington (CNN) – Though the House and Senate are expected to approve a short term bill this week that would avert a government shutdown until at least March 18, the compromise could be only a temporary reprieve in the battle over spending cuts. House GOP leaders Monday showed little willingness to give ground on a longer term deal to fund the government for the rest of the year.
House Republicans are taking a hard line that spending should be rolled back to the 2008 levels.
Illinois Republican Peter Roskam, the House Deputy Whip, argued that Senate Democrats' willingness to accept the two-week compromise signaled a movement toward the House Republican position. "You get to the '08 levels in seven months, You can do it. You just got to do it a billion at a time," Roskam said.
"If the Senate Democrats have demonstrated that they can finally come around and see their way for $4 billion in cuts in two weeks then surely we can continue on that pathway and the American public can gain confidence on where we are and where we're going," Roskam said.
But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor downplayed passing a series of short term bills, saying it's "certainly not our intention that that would be the best way to operate." At the same time Cantor pushed again for the Senate to take up the House-passed $61 billion in spending cuts, "I would say to Leader Reid, go ahead and allow our proposal to be brought up for a vote on the floor of the Senate. There's plenty of bipartisan support for many of the amendments."
Senate Democratic leaders have labeled the House GOP spending bill extreme and have rejected the proposed deep cuts. But in recent days, Reid and other Senate Democrats have signaled they are willing to accept some spending cuts below current levels.
Pressed about whether House Republicans could accept anything less than the spending cuts in the House bill passed last month, Cantor restated the Republican position, "We are where we are, and we are at '08 levels."
Cantor accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of failing to listen to fellow senators who support the spending levels in the House passed bill. "I would suggest that there would be a lot more people on Mr. Reid's side of the Capitol that would be supportive of returning to '08 levels than maybe he would like to believe."