Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
About Felicia Sonmez  |  twitter  On Twitter: @2chambers  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Felicia  |  Articles
Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 03/ 1/2011

House Democrats split on two-week government funding measure

By Felicia Sonmez

Updated: 1:30 p.m.

House Democratic leaders are at odds over a Republican-sponsored measure that would keep the government funded for two weeks while enacting $4 billion in cuts, many of which are favored by President Obama.

The disagreement over the short-term measure comes even as top Democrats are unified in their opposition to House Republicans' longer-term funding resolution, which would keep the government funded through September while cutting $61 billion across federal agencies. That measure passed the House two weeks ago without a single Democrat voting in favor.

House Democratic caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) told reporters Tuesday morning that he was planning to vote in favor of the short-term measure Tuesday afternoon, while Democratic caucus Vice-Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said he is opposed.

The difference of opinion between the two top Democrats comes three days after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a statement criticizing the Republican measure, saying it "is not a good place to start."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), meanwhile, said last week through a spokesman that he was "encouraged" by the Republican plan, noting that it "sounds like a modified version of what Democrats were talking about."

On Tuesday, Becerra charged that by including billions of dollars' worth of cuts in their measure to avoid a government shutdown Friday, Republicans are "essentially holding the American people hostage."

"There will probably be some Democrats who say we need to move forward in a particular way," Becerra said ahead of a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting. "I'm not going to vote for this, because I'm not interested in having someone say to me, 'I'm playing Russian roulette, and the American people, American jobs, the American economy may suffer unless you go my way.'"

Becerra also said that he opposed the House Republican plan because it would enact cuts to educational and other programs without investing in other programs to balance them out.

"If you simply follow what the Republicans are doing, they're simply cutting money for our schools and not doing anything to help compensate for the cuts to the children in their schools," he said. "The president was at least going to invest some of those dollars back into school programs. So that's why I couldn't vote for it. Whether it's for that, the cuts to seniors, the cuts to our environment, our air and the water we drink; it's not a reasoned approach, but it certainly is good Russian roulette."

Larson said he would likely vote for the two-week funding plan even though it wasn't optimal, because he does not want to see the government shut down Friday.

"I will probably vote in favor of it, even though I have severe questions about it," Larson said. "Nobody wants to shut down the government, but by the same token, I don't want to see this death-by-a-thousand-slashes. And so, hopefully we'll see how the Republicans respond to the president's proposal. But I would hope that within a month, that we're able to come together and agree on cuts and then establish them [for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year]."

Larson also noted that Democrats would hear from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, at their closed caucus meeting Tuesday morning regarding the way forward on a longer-term measure to keep the government funded.

"I think depending upon where we come out of this, we're hoping, obviously, that we have all Democrats standing together behind our proposal, which is $41 billion below the president's," Larson said. "So we've made the cuts, but done it in a strategic way, and we hope the caucus will follow the lead of Norm Dicks."

The statement by Reid's office late last week on the short-term plan was a sign that lawmakers were nearing agreement on averting a government shutdown, but this week's statements by Pelosi and Becerra indicate that some Democrats remain dissatisfied with the Republican plan.

On Tuesday, the left-leaning Center for American Progress released a letter signed by more than 300 economists, including Clinton administration veterans Laura Tyson and Alan Blinder, arguing that budget cuts would undermine the strength of the country's economy.

"As economists, we believe it is short-sighted to make budget cuts that eliminate necessary investments in our human capital, our infrastructure, and the next generation of scientific and technological advances," the economists wrote. "These cuts threaten our economy's long-term economic competitiveness and the strength of our current economic recovery. ... As Congress begins to debate the federal budget, it must be careful to sustain critical investments in the productive capacity of the United States."

While House Democratic leaders are split on the short-term measure, it also will be worth keeping an eye on the 87 House Republican freshmen during Tuesday's vote. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday that he was confident the freshmen were on board with the two-week plan, but the large group of new lawmakers could prove to be a wildcard as it has during previous votes, such as one earlier this month on extending provisions of the Patriot Act.

By Felicia Sonmez  | March 1, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Darrell Issa investigating committee spokesman regarding e-mails
Next: Hoyer: 'Premature' to speculate whether Rep. David Wu should resign


Who cares what the hosue Democrats think - we know the moderates and Blue Dogs will vote with the GOP. Pelosi and the other leftist are no longer relevant.

Posted by: Realist201 | March 1, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Can you believe these dummycRAT HACKS!!! We have over $1 Trillion budget deficit and these MORONS can't get over a miniscule $4 Billion cut!!! 4% of the total BUDGET DEFICIT!!!! You freakin' HACKS!! This is maddening!!

Posted by: NO-bama | March 1, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Democrats just don't get it. The fact that what is being cut today is only a fraction of what's coming in the future. Maybe it will help ease them into the idea that we plan to make drastic cuts to govt. Hopefully in 10 years it will little resemble the bloated mess of today.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | March 1, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

On Tuesday, Becerra charged that by including billions of dollars' worth of cuts in their measure to avoid a government shutdown Friday, Republicans are "essentially holding the American people hostage."
As Chris Matthews would say "Tell us something we don't know!"

It is one thing they are good at, I must concede. They have been sadistically enjoying The Peoples' (of the common working variety) woes for the last two years. And they won't be done until the White House is won, not just the House. So brace for two more years of blackmailing.

Posted by: kishorgala | March 1, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

When the 41 billion in cuts come from the interests of both parties then an agreement will occur.
Democracy does not mean you get everything you want. It is maddening that only democratic interests are cut, not republican favorites.
Are you posters confusing what is good for america with what is good for republicans?
I think so.

Posted by: bpbando | March 1, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Can you believe these UglyPugs!!! We have over $1 Trillion budget deficit and these MORONS are asking for a miniscule $4 Billion cut!!! 0.4% of the total BUDGET DEFICIT!!!! You freakin' PUGs!! This is maddening!!

Posted by: kishorgala | March 1, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

bpbando wrote: Are you posters confusing what is good for america with what is good for republicans?
I think so.
Not all all. When America defaults on it's staggering debt and this country drags the global economy into chaos you will understand why Republicans are willing to cut so deeply today. I didn't agree just with the current cuts but also deep cuts in the bloated defense budget AND ending all foreign aid including to Israel. I also want massive cuts to the federal govt both in size and scope. Unlike some Republican politicians who still think this is a game Republican voters are prepared to back up our intentions with removing established politicians. We will make deept cut on both sides that were once sacred cows.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | March 1, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The GOP are going to find themselves out of air. They can only keep of the preposterous lies of their policies for so long. The consensus is in, the GOP are out of touch with anyone who does not share their ideology of greedy self interest. The good news is, most Americans are fair minded and the GOP just can't get their. The GOP is bought and paid for by corporate interests. Even the tea party folks. They may not know it yet, but they'll be told where the money comes from. C'mon Rand Paul, who's your daddy now? How about that fool governor in Wisconsin - licked any boots lately? Rubio in jail yet? Oh Ohh! and guess who's gonna dance wit da starz, that freaky witch O'Donnel .... drum these maggots out of government and put them in a freak show.

Posted by: right_as_rain | March 1, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

the repubs are just fracking ignorant!

They HATE this country! They want to go back to the 1800's, when we had a 50 YEAR LONG RECESSION.

They think, that in the 21st century, the community will band together to build each others houses, hire a doctor, and the widows can teach the kids, since they are no longer good for anything else.

They don't care if Granny starves, and they don't care if their nephew and niece starve either.

They commit rape, and compel the woman to have that kid. What would it matter, they say, since we will starve it to death later?

They want to cut every single assistance programs, and give the top 2% welfare. After all, they reason, these rich people MIGHT hire me as a gardener, if I am nice to them and don't make them pay their share.

They want to continue giving handouts and freebies to the oil companies, and agribusiness. They want to pollute our water and food.

They are not positive people; they are filled up with hate, and that is THE SUM TOTAL OF EVERYTHING THEY KNOW. HATE.

They are not christians; they don't follow Jesus. They don't tithe what they owe, they don't treat anyone the way they want to be treated, they won't help the least of the humanity, they are warmongers and thieves.

They are ill-educated, and think everyone else should be outright illiterate.

They want to destroy not just the United States, but the whole planet. Several times over; they are that type of vindictive.

Posted by: taroya | March 1, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't think many people are to the left of me, and I must say all of the proposed cuts make sense. Dems need to get on board with this 2 week fix and work from there. Ineffective programs need to go - start with the war on drugs.

Posted by: Cracker_BearEl | March 1, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

We will move forward if we can convince the Democratic representatives to unite the sooner the country will be back on track. Show those mean-spirited, self grandiose republicans what "country first" means.

The Democrats had a majority in 2008-2010 and blew it. SHAME ON YOU! Being an independent sure looks attractive.

Posted by: muffet | March 1, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Even after getting slaughtered in last November's elections and losing 66 seats, House Dims still try to block spending cuts. Hilarious Dims.

Posted by: screwjob25 | March 1, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

what was that number No-bama, 1 trillion dollars? Well gee and shucks, i gess ise jes got to switch ovar to de otha side and be's a publiken, cuz ya'lls does so much to set thangs rite. Hey genius, 1 trillion dollars is a pittance, YOUR party is the one who illegally invaded a country based on a pack of lies that only moronatards like you would buy, just like you're doing now genius, and we're spending that much in a couple of months over there. And how about those tax cuts for rich people? Question from republican leadership to the geinuses that make up the America electorate. Would you rather have us take the money to pay for all of this from you, the average American, or from huge corporations and rich people? People: Oh please lordy no don't take it from Exxon Mobil or the richest people in the country! Sure, I'm stuggling to survive but to hades with me and the rest of the people we don't count one whit! Please please, take it from me, and don't take any from your own pocket or your rich contributors. If you do that you might not stay in control and you do such a superb job of telling me what to think. Oh thank you republican leadership, thank you, please screwme! I promise I'm mindless enough to keep voting for you no matter how you screw me, as long as you continue on your path to turn the country into a banana republic, and totally destroy the middle class and the environment in the process! Those liberals would never do that!!!Since you don't represent me, I'll vote for you becausei'mretarded!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: red2million | March 1, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Even after getting slaughtered in the party primaries by the Tea party and losing the traditional GOP seats, House Pugs still try to blackmail people. Hilarious Pug Ugly Pugs.

Posted by: kishorgala | March 1, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Like a breath of fresh air, up pops a picture of Botox Nancy. Hi, Nance, I missed you since you had to take that demotion . You still look great. 'Course, then again, I like Root Canal !

Posted by: puck-101 | March 1, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

They should have started by letting the Bush tax cuts expire. That would have saved $300+ billion from the deficit, compared to these ridiculous $60 billion in crappy little cuts that don't amount to anything. But it would have taken guts to tell people to pay their taxes.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | March 1, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Let me get this straight, wall street goes unregulated and destroys the economy, not one wall street exec or banker goes to jail, our elected officials borrow $700 billion from the Chinese to extend tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans - which over the last decade have not provided any jobs, we are engaged in two pointless wars that waste over $800 billion a year, and you want to cut domestic programs? You want to fire public sector employees? You do realize that domestic programs make up roughly 12% of GDP? You could cut all domestic programs and you still won't be able to balance the budget. And yet you want to cheer on the Republicans? Until Democrats and Republicans look at reforming entitlements such as Social Security & Medicare/Medicaid, and reign in the military waste you are not going to make a difference in the debt load. There has been a massive transfer of wealth from the bottom 90% of the population to the top 1%. Taxes on dividends, high incomes, capital gains, and estates have sharply declined, while tuition at public universities, hours worked per family, household debt, and government deficits have all increased. This country gets dumber and dumber by the minute.

Posted by: tylerdurden1 | March 1, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

When public sector salaries + benefits go out of sight - where teachers and prison guards make over 100K a year - the states are going bankrupt.

One wing of the Democratic Party believe it is the Federal government's responsibility to bail out the states who ran out of cash due to malfeasance.

Posted by: alance | March 1, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Next November there are 20 Dim senate seats up for grabs in states that went Republican in last November's elections. Good luck with that, Dims. The only reason the U.S. Senate still has a slim majority of Dims is that only 1/3 of the seats can change hands in any election.

As for the House Dims, they have no power other than to squawk. The GOP controls the purse strings now.

Posted by: screwjob25 | March 1, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Piglosi voting which way is relevant why?

Posted by: illogicbuster | March 1, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

alance do you even know what malfeasance means? I seriously doubt it. It's a given that DC can be in the middle of a tornado or a monsoon and a republican "leader" can step to the podium and say it's bright and sunny, and theres isn't really any bad weather occuring, that's just the "liberal media" and tens of millions of sheep will want to kill anyone who disagrees. Or simply call them names like unpatriotic. Gee, it really hurts when people who no less about what America means or stands for then a 2 month old on another continent. but what has always intrigued me, that is, besides the rethuglicons' ability to brainwash fify million people with pathetically transparent lies, is if you righties are on the right side of the issues, why is the spin and the lies necessary? If I'm right, I don't have to lie as far as I know. alance, prison guards and teachers don't make anywhere near that amount of money. If you have to lie, please just keep that idiotbox shut will you? it's insulting. If you can produce a link that shows that the AVERAGE salary in either of these fields is over 100K, please do and I'll vote repigger from now on. I promise.

Posted by: red2million | March 1, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Politics. If the President where elected every 6-8 years, we would not be having this discussion.

But we require balance here. You cannot push these faceless, obscure beings called the "rich" around, because, well, they have mobility. They will always go to the side of the fence that is greener.

You cannot cut safety nets. But, those who are retired or close to no longer being in the working age, have to realize that their politicians robbed them and designed a faulty program where the 1st generations in those programs paid little to nothing and all the generations after have paid less than the adjusted dollars they've taken out. And THEIR representatives borrowed against it, so that magic little account with their name on it earning interest that they envision is false--well except that the interest is negative. And, they lived high on the hog with infrastructure, schools, defense, that they never paid for completely. We are all going to have to suffer some from this, including modifications and reductions in what can be covered and paid for by entitlement programs. And the wars must end. I don't care if you like it or not, but those two things must happen. You could end most of the major Agencies people point out in the discretionary budget, and it won't even be a sniff. And you cannot cut much of the Federal work force. Too much of it knows too much. Take that it every sense of the phrase. If you want to know what makes the government slow and wasteful: it's the law. And it creates a structure that makes working for government a completely different task than doing essentially the same job classification in the private sector. If you want change, vote for the unsexy candidates that promise unsexy things like optimize and simplify the tax code, think out of the box with revenue streams, and optimize and systematize the law structures we currently have. We've gone over 200 years without re-engineering the government. It's time. But it starts with the law, not the execution of.

Congress is over a year late with FY11. They should be having this discussion with the FY13 budget. FY12 should be in the bag and we should be moving on. This slice of pie needs optimization, but it cannot fill the debt belly. It will only be a sour pill.

Posted by: NovaMike | March 1, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

alance - you are clueless dude. The states are going bankrupt because wall street invented creative ways to package junk with triple AAA ratings, that ultimately were worthless. States invested money in this junk and are now paying for wall street. And instead of turning the blame on wall street you want to pin it on public workers. Talk about stupid and anti-American. If the richest Americans would pay their fair share, and would have been over the last decade, states and the Feds would be in fine standing. Instead all that money has been stolen from the bottom 90% of the population and given to the richest people on earth (the top 1%). Where are the taxes on dividends, high incomes, capital gains, and estates? They have sharply declined thanks to 30 years of tax cutting starting with Reagan and proceeded by Bush, Clinton and W. Stop thinking in such black and white terms. It's not Republicans vs. Democrats, it's the wealthy taking aim at the middle class.

Posted by: tylerdurden1 | March 1, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company