The number two House Democrat said Tuesday that members of his party will oppose a stopgap measure unveiled by House Republicans Monday night that would keep the government funded through April 15 — and the Defense Department through late September — while cutting $12 billion from across federal agencies.
“I will oppose this bill. ... I hope other Democrats will oppose it. I don’t know that every Democrat will oppose it; There will be some things in there that they perhaps think are appropriate,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday at his weekly roundtable with reporters. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was mum on reports Tuesday that the administration is opposed to the one-week measure, saying only that the White House believes agreement on a longer-term measure is still possible.
Hoyer argued that through the one-week stopgap, House Republicans are “trying to do indirectly” what they have not been able to do directly: enact $61 billion in cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, a proposal to which Democrats remain opposed.
He also called the one-week stopgap “inconsistent” with House Majority Whip Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) previous statement that he would not support an additional short-term funding bill, adding that another short-term measure would be “an extraordinarily inefficient, ineffective and costly way of doing business, funding the largest enterprise in the world on a weekly basis.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other congressional leaders are meeting at the White House on Tuesday in an attempt to find common ground on a longer-term budget measure.
Hoyer said Tuesday that he was not optimistic about those talks and that the chances of a government shutdown Friday have increased since last week, when he projected that the odds of a shutdown were “five to six” on a scale from one to ten.
At a news conference with other House Republican leaders earlier Tuesday, Cantor told reporters that the one-week stopgap has been posted online but that no further decision has been made on how to proceed on it.
“We’ve posted the bill online; we have not made a decision on whether to move this bill forward or not,” Cantor said. “Obviously, the speaker’s at the White House right now. We’re looking to see how we can avoid a government shutdown but to cut spending. And we have not made a decision on whether to move forward or not.”
This post has been updated since it was first published.