Congress averts government shutdown with another short-term funding bill
March 11th, 2011
05:37 PM ET
12 years ago

Congress averts government shutdown with another short-term funding bill

Washington (CNN) - As the standoff continues over funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year, both parties agreed on Friday to move ahead with a three-week stopgap bill that would cut an additional six billion dollars and avoid a potential federal shutdown.

The measure, introduced by House Republicans, eliminates or reduces money for 25 government programs, saving $3.5 billion. Republicans chose from a list of programs President Obama wants cut or eliminated his 2012 budget and from items Senate Democrats proposed in a bill that failed earlier this week.

The bill also rescinds funding that U.S. Department of Commerce never spent on the 2010 U.S. Census and eliminates $2.6 billion in earmarks that were extended in last year's spending bill.
The House is expected to vote on the bill early next week and send it to the Senate for a vote.
House Speaker John Boehner said the purpose of the bill was to "give the American people another round of spending cuts as they wait for the Democrats who run Washington – in the Senate and White House – to determine a position other than the status quo."

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said he supports the three week bill, but argued it was the House Republicans who needed to come forward with a compromise position that moved off their insistence that Congress pass the package of $61 billion in cuts in the House bill. That measure failed to pass the Senate earlier this week.

"If Republicans are serious about cutting the deficit, they should be open to new solutions and ideas instead of clinging to extreme policy positions. It's time to work together toward a long-term solution that makes smart, responsible cuts but doesn't threaten our economic future," Reid said.

As with the last short term measure Congress passed, House GOP leaders left out the controversial add-ons like defunding the health care law or Planned Parenthood so it could pass the Senate and avert a threat of a shutdown, but some House conservatives want these policy items added on to the new House GOP bill.

The President called these so-called "policy riders" non-starters at his news conference on Friday, saying he saying he opposed any effort to "sneak political agendas into a budget debate."

But on Friday, Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan, who heads a key bloc of conservatives in the House, said he was "troubled" that "some of the pro-life, pro-family things" are not in three-week bill, and said he planned to push leaders to attach the measure to cut off all federal funding for Planned Parenthood to the three-week funding measure.

"We're going to continue to try push to see if we can get those things in it. We've got some of our pro-family groups who are nervous about that – very nervous about that," Jordan told reporters off the House floor.

Separately, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Iowa Rep. Steve King are circulating a letter to Speaker Boehner and other House Republican leaders insisting that this short term funding resolution bar any discretionary or mandatory spending to implement the health care law.

"If we do not stand our ground on the CR [continuing resolution], leverage it as the 'must pass bill' that it is, " the letter writes, referring to the money automatically authorized by the law, "ObamaCare will be implemented on our watch." But since Congress is only charged with establishing discretionary budgets for federal agencies, it's unclear whether the proposal from Bachmann and King would even be allowed for a vote under House Rules because it attempts to cut monies already directed under the law.

Asked whether the concerns from conservatives over these policy issues could pose a problem for passing the bill, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers told reporters off the House floor on Friday, "I think we'll be ok."

Other senior House Republicans said while these items won't be addressed in this short term bill, negotiations over any compromise bill would have to include some resolution of these policy riders, but it's unclear how many, if any, could get the votes to pass in the Democratic led Senate.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This Union cracking by Republicans is a joke on the American people when big business like Halliburton, etc. have union jobs in the Middle East. I bet the Coke Brothers are getting their big piece of the pie. Wake up American and look past the end of your nose.

    March 11, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  2. WiredwierdinSF

    Don't worry, if the corrupt unions and the democrat liberals trash and destroy the builiding like they did the Wisconsin, the TEA Party will be there to clean it up. We have a sense of responsibility that these poor drug crazed liberals don't. They are just plain, corrupt, nasty, hypocritical and mean.

    March 11, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Jatovi

    Yeah! The GOP passed another jobs bill. Too bad the only two job bills they've passed dealt only with their jobs. Way to go GOP!

    March 11, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Roger

    Republicans remmeber why you won in Nov 2010, cut the spending now. shut the goverment down now! Do as you promised and were elected to do. We are broke. Obama care is going to make us even more broke. Help us out.

    March 11, 2011 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. DENNA

    It is nice to know that the Rethugs are not completely stupid. Shutting down the government did not work before and it won't work this time either. Now! Where are the jobs you promised to create?

    March 11, 2011 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  6. Monster Zero

    How about just eliminating the Executive branch of Government, they seem to be fairly useless these days. Think of the money saved until 2012, Obama can think of it as an early retirement...

    March 11, 2011 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  7. Albo58

    The President kicking the fiscal responsiblity can down the road instead of demonstrating real leadership!

    March 11, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Rdepontb

    Harry Reid: You need to cut lots more than 10 billion dollars...if you can't work out an agreement with the Republicans, step aside in favor of someone who doesn't owe any favors, sir. I am a Democrat and I am getting tired of your very tired ways--we all agree the budget is too high. Use that GAO report to find common ground on cuts-or risk having this cutting business being pursued on the grounds of political and religio-politico thinking. Do it for us, please.

    March 11, 2011 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Compromise should be easy. The Republicans want to cut any program that might help the poor or middle class. They want to retain any program to help the wealthiest Americans and their corporate handlers. Democrats want to save any program that creates jobs, or directly helps the poor. Sadly, the Democrats even want to help those too lazy to help themselves. Neither side has the character to make mature strategic decisions, certainly not those choices offering a level of political risk. President Obama is a fine man – surrounded by weak, slimy politicians. I'm not hopeful...

    March 11, 2011 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  10. Sue

    The Republicans need to stop the money to be spent on Obamacare until the courts rule and finally find it unconstitutional and done for good!!

    Who will be hurt the most if the government shuts down? It will be the Democrats. Senior citizens will continue to get their social security checks. All important aspects of government will continue.

    The only programs that will be shut down are Obama's pipe dreams for even more spending.

    Shut the government down if necessary. Do not let one red cent be spent on Obamacare!!!

    March 12, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  11. paulbark

    The GOP gets a say. But they don't get the final say. They have a majority in the House. But the Democrats have the majority in the Senate. And, Obama is a Democrat. The GOP can huff and puff, but they're still in the minority. They cannot control the final outcome, although they have the power to shut down the government.

    March 12, 2011 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  12. W/tf

    I say we dont pay these guys until they start actually getting things done ...

    March 12, 2011 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  13. WiredweirdoinSF

    How much could we save if we get rid of the democrat liberals main funding source, the corrupt unions?

    March 12, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  14. Cowabunga

    If Michelle Bachmann doesn't like "ObamaCare", as she puts it, perhaps she could help define what Republicare would look like? (I suspect it would look a lot like "Republi-don't'care", but they did say they wanted to "repeal and replace." With what, exactly?

    March 12, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. Clwyd

    Just shut it down!

    March 12, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  16. Anonymous

    The Greedy Old Pigs are at it again. I have yet to see those insane cultists and American Taliban propose a single sacrifice that will fall on their wealthy masters. As usual, they care nothing about the poor, the middle class, workers and the environment.

    March 12, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  17. Dan

    95% of us would not be affected by a government shutdown. Go for it

    March 12, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |