Little Progress on Budget Negotiations
Talks between party leaders and the White House over a measure to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal 2011 made little headway during last week’s congressional recess, raising the possibility that Congress may be forced to pass another continuing resolution to keep the government running if leaders can’t reach a deal before the existing stopgap expires April 8.
Lawmakers have said they don’t want to approve any more short-term spending bills, but House Republicans and Senate Democrats still remain far apart over how much spending to cut from current levels, reported CQ Today. Republican lawmakers are intent on trimming $62 billion, while Democrats so far have balked at such a large cut.
In an interview Friday on MSNBC, senior Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) said the two sides we’re moving closer to a deal on how much spending to cut, but in a written statement, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) responded that Schumer’s comments “are completely farfetched.”
The White House and Senate leaders are “refusing to offer any sort of serious plan for how to cut spending,” he said. “If Sens. Reid and Schumer insist on shutting down the government because they want to protect every last dollar and cent of federal spending then that will be on their hands,” Cantor said.