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Tags: obama | congress | spending | Bill

Obama, Congressional Leaders Agree on Stopgap Spending Bill

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 10:05 AM EDT

Congressional leaders said they and President Barack Obama have agreed on a $1.047 trillion plan to fund the U.S. government from October through March.

Lawmakers will vote on the measure in September, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters in Washington Tuesday.

“This agreement reached between the Senate, the House and the White House provides stability for the coming months, when we will have to resolve critical issues that directly affect middle class families,” Reid said.

Completing a six-month plan may give leaders of both parties time to negotiate ways to avert $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, known as sequestration, that are scheduled to begin taking effect in January.

House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Tuesday that lawmakers and staff “will write legislation that can be passed by the House and Senate in September and sent to President Obama to be signed into law.”

Reid said the measure won’t contain unrelated policy items that have held up passage of spending bills in the past.

Earlier Tuesday, second-ranking Senate Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois said the stopgap funding bill would be at the level in the August 2011 Budget Control Act, which also increased the nation’s debt ceiling.

The Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate need a stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution, because Congress hasn’t agreed on any spending bills for the 2013 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Reduced Spending

Senate leaders have pressed for the $1.047 trillion funding level. House Republicans until now had demanded reduced spending that amounts to an additional $19 billion in cuts in discretionary spending.

Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said last week that he and other Tea Party-backed lawmakers told Boehner, an Ohio Republican, they could support a six-month spending bill at the August 2011 level to avoid a fight over government funding in a post-election session.

“Republicans don’t want to shut the government down, particularly conservatives,” DeMint said in a July 25 interview.

Durbin said Tuesday, “Thank God we’re not going through another threatened government shutdown from the Republicans.”

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the Republican Study Committee that supports limited government, “is open to supporting a short-term” continuing resolution “that gets us past the lame-duck session” and doesn’t spend more than the levels in the Budget Control Act, his press secretary Meghan Snyder said last week.

‘Lame-Duck Congress’

“We can stomach that,” Representative Tim Huelskamp, a freshman Republican from Kansas, said last week. “Let’s get the budget done for six months and then see what happens in the election. To have a lame-duck Congress and, potentially, a lame-duck president deciding that -- I think most Americans would say ‘No.’”

Representative Mick Mulvaney, a South Carolina Republican, said last week that in addition to backing a six-month measure he would be willing to drop demands that the legislation bar funding for the administration’s health-care overhaul.

Representative Steny Hoyer, the House’s second-ranking Democrat, said July 25 that Republicans are prepared to accept the funding level as a “pragmatic judgment.” If Republicans are perceived as shutting down the government, “it would hurt them badly at the polls,” Hoyer of Maryland said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

© Copyright 2023 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 10:05 AM
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