- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 14, 2011

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi complained Thursday her caucus was shut out of the negotiating process last week when congressional leaders and the White House hammered out a 2011 spending deal that avoided a government shutdown.

The California Democrat added she feels “no ownership” to the compromise.

“It’s pretty evident House Democrats were not a part of that agreement,” said Mrs. Pelosi during her weekly briefing with reporters at the Capitol. “The Republicans in the House, the Democrats in the Senate — the two majorities — they were the ones who had the votes so they have the strength to negotiate.”

“I feel no ownership of that or any responsibility to it, except that we don’t want the government to shut down.”

Mrs. Pelosi declined to say if she will support the bill, which is scheduled for a vote Thursday afternoon.

She added she hasn’t instructed her fellow House Democrats how to vote.

“We have not whipped it, we have not encouraged (members how to vote) one way or another,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “People are just making their own judgment about it. … They can make a judgment about what they believe and that’s how they will vote.”

The former House speaker said, however, she suspects the compromise — which calls for $38.5 billion in cuts and would keep federal agencies funded through the end of September, when fiscal year 2011 ends — will pass.

“I have always thought that if [House Speaker John A. Boehner] didn’t have enough votes, if he didn’t get 218 (votes required for passage) on his own that there would be Democrats that could help put it over the top,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “It’s just a question of how big that disparity is.”

Mr. Boehner told reporters later he believes the measure will pass, even though many conservative GOP House members have said they’ll reject it because it doesn’t cut spending enough.

“Certainly [the compromise] has caused some confusion, but let’s understand we’re cutting $38.5 billion of money that has already been authorized and appropriated,” the Ohio Republican said. “And anybody who doesn’t believe this money wouldn’t be spent if we don’t act is kidding themselves.”

The House and Senate must approve the package before midnight Friday to avert a government shutdown.

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