“This bill is a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise for funding the remainder of fiscal year 2011 and avert a disruptive federal government shutdown that would put the nation’s economic recovery in jeopardy,” the White House said, arguing that the House bill “simply delays that critical final outcome.”
Republicans said Mr. Obama’s promised veto makes a government shutdown almost impossible to avoid since, given that funding bills must originate in the House, that bill is the only one that could pass by the shutdown deadline.
“To have the president of the United States issue a veto threat on a bill to fund our troops is an outrage,” said House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican.
Lawmakers began warning constituents of the possible effects of a shutdown, including some closed federal offices.
Most federal employees would still be expected to report for work and would continue to earn pay, though paychecks would stop until Congress resumes funding.
In the shutdown negotiations, Mr. Reid said all sides have essentially agreed to a dollar amount in a final agreement, and said the delay is the policy provisions. He doesn’t want any of those riders included.
Mr. Boehner, though, said policy riders are included in every broad spending bill and that both parties have made use of riders.
A 2008 Congressional Research Report recapping appropriations during the first year Democrats controlled Congress while President George W. Bush was in office said that year’s spending bills included nearly two dozen policy riders.
Among new riders Democrats added that year were a provision tying the Bush administration’s hands on offering new oil-shale drilling leases on public lands, and another provision blocking Mr. Bush’s EPA from following through on a proposed rule to change hazardous air-pollutant standards — similar to Republicans’ proposed limit on Mr. Obama’s EPA rules.
Democrats argue they’ve met Republicans halfway on spending cuts by agreeing to more than $30 billion in reductions in 2011, compared with 2010 spending levels. House Republicans’ bill cut $61 billion.
Both of those cut totals, while historic in real dollar terms, pale in comparison to the size of federal spending and deficits.
The federal government ran a deficit of $189 billion in March alone, according to preliminary estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.
The total deficit for the first six months of fiscal year 2011 is $830 billion, putting the government on pace for a new record.
Overall, government revenues are up $66 billion compared with last year, but spending is up much more — $179 billion more than the first six months of 2010. CBO says most of that was a result of changes in the way Wall Street bailout money is accounted for, and said if those accounting issues are taken away, spending is up only $15 billion over last year.