- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 6, 2011

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin on Sunday said Democrats need to stand firm on further concessions in the ongoing federal budget-cutting battles with the GOP.

“I’m willing to see more deficit reduction, but not out of domestic discretionary spending. I think we’ve pushed this to the limit,” Mr. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, said on “Fox News Sunday” when he was asked if he would support more than the $10 billion in cuts the Democrats have offered to House Republicans.

The senator and other members of Congress took to the airwaves Sunday, making the rounds of the Washington talk shows to rejoin the budget battle just days after Republicans and Democrats approved a stopgap two-week continuing resolution to keep the federal government from shutting down.

House Republicans have approved a bill that cuts more than $60 billlion from current spending levels to fund the government for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. Mr. Durbin and other Democrats have countered with a proposal to hold the cuts to about $10 billion.

Lawmakers have less than two weeks to reach an agreement before the stopgap funding expires.

Appearing on the same show, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said Democrats are not serious about reining in spending.

“This is 2.5 percent, roughly, of the entire federal budget,” Mr. Hensarling, Texas Republican, said. He criticized Democrats, and President Obama specifically, for sitting on the sidelines. “We have a president who has not led,” he said.

White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said the administration was optimistic that a deal would be made.