Ahead of a meeting between congressional leaders and the White House on keeping the federal government funded, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced Thursday that the House will continue to pass short-term measures that cut spending at the rate of $2 billion per week until Democrats release their own long-term spending proposal.
Cantor’s announcement came during a 25-minute exchange on the House floor with Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) after the chamber voted to repeal the 1099 tax-reporting requirement of the national health-care law.
“We would encourage the Senate and Leader Reid to act so that we can move forward, and until then, Mr. Speaker, I would say to my friend from Maryland that I would expect the House to continue its process of cutting $2 billion per week until we can see where the gentleman’s caucus and then the Democratic leader in the Senate is,” Cantor said on the House floor.
His comment marked House Republicans’ first statement on their strategy going forward since President Obama signed into law on Wednesday a stopgap funding measure that will keep the government running through March 18.
Both sides have stated that they prefer a longer-term funding measure to a series of shorter-term ones, but it remains unclear how much time it will take congressional leaders to work out a compromise on keeping the government funded through the end of the fiscal year in September.
Vice President Biden, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew met for just over an hour at the Capitol Thursday afternoon with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
None of the participants commented on the meeting as they left Thursday afternoon; the White House released a one-sentence statement from Biden afterward: “We had a good meeting, and the conversation will continue.”