McConnell: Senate Will Pass House Version of Funding Bill

Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013 03:47 PM

By David Yonkman, Washington Correspondent

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he believes the Senate will pass a House bill to fund government for the next six months will little opposition by either party.

The Kentucky Republican said he has spoken with Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, and both Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, and ranking Republican member Richard Shelby. All three have indicated to him that they will not oppose the bill as it is currently written.

“I think there’s a sense of urgency and cooperation by both sides to get this done,” McConnell said during remarks at a Capitol Hill press conference.

“There seems to be no interest by either side in having a government shutdown-type scenario.”

House Speaker John Boehner earlier in the day said he expects the House to pass the bill later this week.

House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, meanwhile, also said no effort would be made to pressure Democrats to oppose the House measure, although he maintains it threatens the economy and violates spending levels agreed to under the 2011 Budget Control Act, The Hill reports.

The funding bill, known as the 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 It would allow the Pentagon to shift funds from outdated and unwanted projects to critical, front-line activities.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, meanwhile, expressed concern that government spending priorities are becoming outdated and noted that the Senate has failed to pass a real budget over the past four years.

For instance, he said, “Our priorities in Iraq and Afghanistan were very different then than they are now. In so many ways our failure to do work is catching up with us.”

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