With less than 34 hours remaining until the measure currently funding the government is set to expire, the House on Thursday passed a measure that would keep federal agencies funded for one week – and the Defense Department funded through the end of the fiscal year – while also enacting $12 billion in cuts.
The measure has little chance of progressing, however. The White House announced Thursday morning that President Obama would veto the bill, which the administration described in a statement as “a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise for funding the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and avert a disruptive Federal Government shutdown that would put the Nation’s economic recovery in jeopardy.”
The one-week stopgap passed the House on a 247-to-181 vote. Fifteen Democrats joined most Republicans in voting for the bill, while six Republicans joined most Democrats in voting against it.
Prior to the final vote on the Republican measure, Democrats offered two alternatives: a bill to keep the government funded for one more week at current levels, and another that would keep the troops funded in the case of a shutdown without making additional spending cuts. The House rejected both measures.
As pressure has intensified on lawmakers to make a deal by the end of Friday, so too has the partisan finger-pointing.
Democrats on Thursday argued that any vote for the one-week stopgap would amount to a vote in favor of a shutdown, as Obama had already issued his veto threat.
“By putting this partisan [funding resolution] on the Floor that the President has declared he will veto, Republicans are voting to shut down the government,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. “I’m disappointed they rejected my unanimous consent request to pass a clean, one-week [continuuing resolution] that would keep the government open while negotiations continue.”
Republicans countered that Democrats who voted against the one-week measure were the ones voting for a shutdown, as well as voting against keeping the troops funded.
“To be clear, if the President vetoes this bill and shuts the government down, our men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world will not be paid,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said. “Our troops must be paid, our country is broke, and we are committed to fixing that. I urge the President revisit his decision and work with us.”
In a statement after Thursday’s vote, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has been meeting at the White House with Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), insisted that any funding bill that does not include spending cuts would be a non-starter in the House.
“We will send this bill to the Senate today, confident that those Democrats who believe it is important to fund our troops and make real spending cuts will prevail upon Senator Reid and our Commander-in-Chief to keep the government from shutting down,” Boehner said. “The President and Democratic leaders have all committed to working with Republicans to cut spending. A bill that falls short of that commitment cannot pass the House.”