President Barack Obama on Friday urged the U.S. Congress to approve a bill to fund the government for the current fiscal year to avoid doing damage to the economy at a time global growth is slowing.
"I will not sign another short-sighted spending bill," Obama told a White House news conference. He said a short-term spending bill passed by lawmakers this week set up an opportunity for a new crisis before Christmas.
On Wednesday, just hours before a midnight deadline when government agency funds were due to run out, Congress approved extending existing spending through Dec. 11.
That gives Congress and the White House 10 weeks to settle on spending priorities for the remainder of the new fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, 2016.
There are deep differences between Obama and congressional Republicans.
Obama wants to lift tough spending caps enacted a few years ago that impose across-the-board savings. Some conservative Republicans want to bust those caps for the military, but not for domestic programs. The disagreement has led to fears of government shutdowns just before Christmas, when current funds expire.
Congress "can't flirt with another shutdown. It has to pass a serious budget" and "get rid of some of these mindless cuts," Obama said.
But the Republican-controlled Congress has deep divisions within its own ranks too, which could complicate the upcoming budget negotiations.
The budget fight will be playing out as House of Representatives Republicans hold a potentially bruising battle over who will replace House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican Party leadership positions in the chamber.
Some worry the budget negotiations could be colored by those leadership elections. (Reporting by Mohammad Zargham and Richard Cowan; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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