House Speaker John Boehner said that the House will pass a bill this week to fund the federal government until Sept. 30 to avoid a shutdown when current funding runs out on March 27, but its fate depends on the Senate.
“I would hope that they pick it up and pass it quickly,” the Ohio Republican said at a weekly GOP leadership press conference. “Our goal is to cut spending, not to shut the government down.”
The bill, known as a continuing resolution, incorporates the funding levels of the $85 billion across-the-board spending cuts that began Friday, but it provides some relief to the Department of Defense. It would allow the Pentagon to shift funds from outdated and unwanted projects to critical, front-line activities.
The military would be allowed to spend about $10 billion more on operations and maintenance than under a straight extension of previous funding that keeps money locked in certain accounts.
Republican Rep. John Carter of Texas called it a good start in mitigating the negative effects of the sequestration process on defense.
But Senate Democrats have a different view. They want to add more detailed, targeted budgets for domestic agencies and programs, according to the Associated Press. But they will need some Republican help on their side of the Capitol to do it.
The House measure also denies money sought by Obama and his Democratic allies to implement his signature healthcare reform law of 2010, which doesn't go into full effect until next year, or to carry out financial reform regulations.
Boehner said the House continues to find itself facing down budgeting deadlines because of the president’s reluctance to cut spending.
“This is no way to run government,” he said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, meanwhile, said the spending bill would not only avoid a government shutdown, but would provide economic certainty that fiscal conservatives believe is necessary for economic growth and job creation.
The Virginia Republican also said House committees would begin exploring more targeted opportunities to cut waste in the coming weeks as opposed to the wholesale spending reductions required in the sequester.
“The sequester is not the smart way to cut,” Cantor said.
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