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Posted at 5:40 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Threat of shutdown appears to wane as Democrats say they're 'encouraged' by GOP plan

By Felicia Sonmez

House Republicans on Friday unveiled a stopgap government funding measure that would include $4 billion in cuts over two weeks.

The plan met with tentative support from Senate Democrats, who portrayed the measure as similar to a plan they had been drafting that would include some of the cuts proposed by President Obama for his fiscal 2012 budget.

The moves were an indication that the gulf between Senate Democrats and House Republicans on keeping the government funded past early March is narrowing and that the threat of a government shutdown may be postponed.

"We are encouraged to hear that Republicans are abandoning their demands for extreme measures like cuts to border security, cancer research and food safety inspectors and instead moving closer to Democrats' position that we should cut government spending in a smart, responsible way that targets waste and excess while keeping our economy growing," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) spokesperson, Jon Summers, said in a statement Friday afternoon shortly before the release of the stopgap funding measure.

Summers added that the measure being floated by Republicans "sounds like a modified version of what Democrats were talking about."

"We're glad they think it's a good idea, but we should keep our focus on what we need to do to cut spending and keep our economy growing in the long-term," Summers said. "If we need a little more time to agree on a responsible path forward, we should pass a short-term CR for no longer than the next month."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement that House Republicans plan to vote on the measure next week.

"The American people want the government to stay open, and they want us to cut spending," Boehner said. "We're listening, and this responsible proposal will save taxpayers $4 billion by eliminating earmark slush funds and focusing on spending cuts President Obama already proposed."

Summers renewed Democrats' criticism of Republicans' stance as a "my way or the highway" approach geared toward effecting a government shutdown. But in another sign that tensions are waning ahead of a looming March 4 deadline, Summers referred to that approach as one that Republicans "have been taking in the past," adding that Democrats "hope [the planned stopgap measure] is a sign that they have abandoned it and will work with Democrats moving forward."

Among the $4 billion in cuts included in the plan would be $1.24 billion cut from eight federal programs, many of which had been deemed ineffective or duplicative of other programs.

Five of those cuts had been requested by Obama in his fiscal 2012 budget; they include Election Assistance Grants and the Department of Education's LEAP, Striving Reading, Even Start and Smaller Learning Communities programs. The other three cuts are to programs that did not receive funding requests in Obama's 2012 budget.

The $4 billion in cuts also includes $2.7 billion in earmarks. The earmarked funds would have gone toward a collection of homeland security, energy and water, and labor, health and education programs and projects.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also endorsed the plan Friday night, noting that "President Obama and congressional Democrats agree with Republicans that these are potential areas to reduce spending, removing any excuses they have offered for demanding their status quo spending levels."

"As a result, there is now a clear path to finishing this short-term measure before the March 4th deadline," McConnell added. "By supporting the House bill, our friends on the other side of the aisle will have the chance to ensure that the government remains operational while we work with them to identify additional ways to shrink Washington spending this year."

An agreement on a short-term plan would mean that the threat of a government shutdown would be postponed until mid- to late March. But wide disagreements remain between both parties over the scope of any longer-term budget cuts.

In his statement Friday, Boehner said that "keeping the already-high, 'stimulus'-inflated spending levels in place -- as Senate Democrats have proposed on this short-term bill -- is unacceptable." House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), meanwhile, cautioned Democrats in a Friday statement "to make sure that their cuts are significant and serious spending reduction proposals, not just minor efforts to trim around the edges."

And earlier this week, House Democrats hit back against Republicans' proposal to cut $61 billion from federal spending over the next seven months, warning that the measure "would hinder our ability to ensure the safety of our food, rebuild America, secure our nation and educate our children."

In a report issued Thursday by the Democratic staff of the House Appropriations Committee, Democrats translated the dollar amounts of the Republican-proposed cuts into figures related to jobs and programs.

Democrats have also pointed to a report by the liberal Economic Policy Institute projecting that the House-passed spending resolution would result in the loss of 800,000 private and public-sector jobs, as well as a report by a Goldman Sachs analyst that the House GOP cuts could reduce the country's economic growth by as much as two percentage points in the second and third quarters of the year.

Friday morning, House Republican leaders renewed their criticism of Senate Democrats' proposal as "defending the status quo in Washington."

Meanwhile, both sides have been hustling to avert blame in case a government shutdown does indeed happen. A release from Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) office Friday afternoon detailing House Republicans' short-term spending plan was headlined: "House Republicans Continue Working to Avoid a Government Shutdown."

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By Felicia Sonmez  | February 25, 2011; 5:40 PM ET
 
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Comments

It's Been A Bad 2011 for the Teapublicans So Far:


Walker and Repuppies get caught on the side of Evil State Govt against the little people in Wisconsin.......again.
Bush-Dolt " Concience Clause " for Health workers junked by Executive Ord...er - no legislation necessary.
The Great "CONSERVATIVE" hero Hosni Mubarak just eliminated, other conservative beloved dictators are doomed.


Reading Constitution aloud Skit on CPAN Bombs.
John "Orange" Boner loses his precious Jet Engine.
Pin-Down on Tax-Cuts for UberRich-RePiggies.
Sarah Palin slapped down like a Monkey.
Jared the Tea-Party Assassin in Arizona.


Health Care Repeal Fails (unless the activist Right Wingers on the Supreme Court decide to overturn hundreds of years of case law, again, for their right wing corporate overlords (Koch Brothers)
Texas going Bankrupt.
Abortion Repeal Fails.
Egypt & Obama dominates news & blows Repuppy focus off track.
Chump-Change Boehner Budget Cuts not going anywhere.


Craigslist Pervert Republican Resigns.
John Kyl Resigns.
Republican Oil Spill.
Gay Republicans causing fits in GOP.
Tea-Baggers causing internal Trouble for Standard Corporate RePigs.
No interesting or credible Presidential Candidates.


Not good days for the Teahadists.

.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 25, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Deficit, smecifit, as Tea partiers are partying hardy for the Billions of subsidies for Coal, Oil and Rich agricultural livestock, feedstock and cotton industries. Millionaires and Billionaires are laughing their way to the bank while troops give their lives, legs, eyes and all limbs defending America's interest.

Raise the gasoline tax by 50 cents per gallon and dedicate all revenue raised towards transportation infrastructure and oil replacement technologies. Gas prices have gone up by almost 75 cents the past year with no additional tax revenue for investment as America has instead gotten along just fine selling more gas guzzlers.

Stop giving Billionaires a Hundred Billion in tax breaks while thousands of American men and women troops are dying and experiencing daily casualties in the Middle East.

End that $160~$200 Billion over 10 years to Rich farming conglomerates. These corporations earn Billions without taxpayer subsidies and lavish those earnings on their investors at taxpayer expense.

Reduce US Navy fleet to 230 ships for a 10 year savings of $126.6 Billion

End the spending of $119 billion in FY2011 in Afghanistan in a country with $14 billion GDP

Recipients of Total USDA Subsidies to farms in United States totaled $16,349,000,000 in 2009;

http://farm.ewg.org/top_recips.php?fips=00000&progcode=total&page=0&yr=2009

End the Tens of Billions in tax subsidies going to Oil and Coal companies. Make Coal and Gas drilling companies pay for their pollution and environmental damage. End the tax breaks that allow them to pay the lowest percentage of taxes since the 1950’s while the industry is raking in record hundreds of billions in profits.

Ordinary taxpayers are the ones who have to make up the difference by paying 20~30% of their salary in taxes to offset Billions in explorations tax subsidies for wealthy coal companies who lavish their investors with profits built on their ability to pollute at public expense.

Posted by: Airborne82 | February 25, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

The situation is different than in 1995 in at least one important way: The Republican house is fighting with the Democrat Senate. It is not fighting the with President, as it was in 1995. If there is a shutdown, the President can continue to behave as he is above the fray. He's got nothing to do with the shutdown. But the two houses of congress will be seen as a bunch children fighting among themselves. That will be the only image of the republicans in the big piture: children fighting. Sounds like a set-up to me.

Posted by: RegisUrgel | February 25, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

This all depends on how KOCH is feeling that day. The GOP is waiting for instructions.

Posted by: Americacares | February 25, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Cutting $4 Billion out of the budget is equivalent of eliminating 129,000 average paying jobs in either the public or private sector.

Republican proposals guarantee Great Recession Phase II.


Posted by: Maddogg | February 25, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

It's Been A Bad 2011 for the Teapublicans So Far:


Walker and Repuppies get caught on the side of Evil State Govt against the little people in Wisconsin.......again.
Bush-Dolt " Concience Clause " for Health workers junked by Executive Ord...er - no legislation necessary.
The Great "CONSERVATIVE" hero Hosni Mubarak just eliminated, other conservative beloved dictators are doomed.


Reading Constitution aloud Skit on CPAN Bombs.
John "Orange" Boner loses his precious Jet Engine.
Pin-Down on Tax-Cuts for UberRich-RePiggies.
Sarah Palin slapped down like a Monkey.
Jared the Tea-Party Assassin in Arizona.


Health Care Repeal Fails (unless the activist Right Wingers on the Supreme Court decide to overturn hundreds of years of case law, again, for their right wing corporate overlords (Koch Brothers)
Texas going Bankrupt.
Abortion Repeal Fails.
Egypt & Obama dominates news & blows Repuppy focus off track.
Chump-Change Boehner Budget Cuts not going anywhere.


Craigslist Pervert Republican Resigns.
John Kyl Resigns.
Republican Oil Spill.
Gay Republicans causing fits in GOP.
Tea-Baggers causing internal Trouble for Standard Corporate RePigs.
No interesting or credible Presidential Candidates.


Not good days for the Teahadists.

--------------------------------
The above is an example of why the Dems took a shellacking in November 2010 and why the tsunami will arrive in November of 2012.

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Posted by: chicgoods | February 25, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Best strategy for Dems is give Repubs all the cuts they desire and some more too. Then when jobs don't materialize slam the Repubs in 2012.

Then set back and watch Dems take back control of the House and widen their margins in the Senate.

Then they can restore all the cuts!

Posted by: Maddogg | February 25, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Summers renewed Democrats' criticism of Republicans' stance as a "my way or the highway" ...

Funny, Democrats didn't care about "my way or the highway" stances when they had both the House and Senate.

Posted by: ReindeerDippin | February 25, 2011 9:17 PM | Report abuse

If there is a GOVT shutdown,

they leaders that caused it,
there political careers are over,

look back at 1995

The public won't forget

No matter all the good things you have done for the country,

you as a leader, that caused the GOVT shutdown, are a dysfunctional politician,

They American people won't forget what you did.

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Posted by: zhenge855 | February 25, 2011 10:34 PM | Report abuse

dems are reverting to old tricks to undermind the last election...
truth is...
no jobs...
no reelection...
Americans can't be that stupid to fall for that...
or can they...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 26, 2011 8:58 AM | Report abuse

So Harry Reid's spokesman is not happy with the Republicans'"my way or the highway" stance. I'm sure he was equally upset when the Democrats did it when they were in the majority.

Posted by: dknight12345 | February 26, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The only "encourage" thing I see is the right-wingers destroying themselves as a viable political organization once they get done taking their meat axe to our society.

Problem is most people won't see what they are doing until it is way too late and our country is so badly wrecked even News Corp will have to report that as fact.

It is the right-wing propaganda machine that is destroying our country with their ceaseless 24/7 disinformation, hate-spewing and fear-mongering. Now their viewers are openly talking about assassinating Democratic officials, including the President.

Time to shut down the right-wing propaganda machine and deprogram 100 million right-wing delusional minions.

Posted by: PoliticalPrisoner2012 | February 26, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Stop congressional Republican nonsense and enact a progressive agenda. Sign the petition at http://www.democratz.org

Posted by: WWWoDEMOCRATZoORG | February 27, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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