Spending Bill for 3 Weeks of Government Financing Expected to Pass

Mar 16, 2011, 08:15

The spending bill that would allow the U.S. government to operate for three more weeks was expected to pass on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Senate leaders from both parties said they planned to pass the bill after the House approved the measure Tuesday.

The stopgap bill that would cut $6 billion from federal programs and keep the government open through April 8 passed the House 271-158. Of the final tally, 186 Republicans and 85 Democrats supported the budget extension and 54 Republicans and 104 Democrats opposed it.

The new temporary measure would be the sixth since the fiscal year began Oct. 1 and the second this month. Lawmakers of both parties vowed it would also be the last.

"Let's pass this, move ahead and get this thing done," said Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla.

"It's a terrible way to do business," said Rep. James Moran, D-Va.

The bill must be passed by the Senate by Friday to prevent parts of the government from shutting down.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the short-term funding bill "gives Congress some breathing room to find consensus on a long-term measure that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year."

But he said President Barack Obama stressed that "with the wide range of issues facing our nation, we cannot keep funding the government in two- or three-week increments."

House Republicans stood by their proposal to slash $61 billion from this year's budget and demanded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., let a full Senate debate determine how deep the spending cuts would go in that chamber.

Reid dismissed the GOP bill as reckless and repeated Tuesday that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was being forced by lawmakers backed by the Tea Party movement into a showdown that could lead to a shutdown, The Washington Post reported.

"We're not going to take an ax to this budget," Reid told reporters. "We're going to work it as smoothly as we can and work to cut spending, but do it in a way that's meaningful to the American people."

At the same time, Americans said they trusted Obama more than Republican lawmakers to handle economic matters, although they said they didn't really trust anyone, a Washington Post-ABC News survey indicated.

Forty-six percent said they trusted Obama more than Republicans to do a better job on the economy, compared with 34 percent who said Republicans would do a better job, the phone survey conducted Thursday through Sunday indicated.

The remainder answered "both" or "neither," the poll indicated.

The poll had a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points.

Source: UPI