GOP, Democrats Resume Budget Debate as March 4 Deadline Looms

Senate Majority Leader Reid poised to support two-week stop-gap measure, while Pelosi opposes it

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The House Rules Committee began debating on Monday the stop-gap spending bill that will fund the government until March 18. On Tuesday, the full House is set to begin debating its second funding bill, which is designed to keep the government running beyond Friday, March 4.

House Republicans introduced on Friday, Feb. 25, the two-week stopgap measure that included an additional $4 billion in spending cuts. The $4 billion in cuts have become more palatable to Democrats because it includes cuts in programs that President Barack Obama has proposed eliminating.

Jon Summers, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (left), made supportive statements the same day that “the plan Republicans are floating today sounds like a modified version of what Democrats were talking about. We’re glad they think it’s a good idea, but we should keep our focus on what we need to do to cut spending and keep our economy growing in the long term.” Summers continued that if Republicans and Democrats need “a little more time to agree on a responsible path forward, we should pass a short-term CR for no longer than the next month.”

But a Feb. 25 statement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that the two-week measure introduced by House Republicans is “not a good place to start.” Republicans want to cut an additional $4 billion, she said, “which includes stripping support for some pressing educational challenges without redirecting these critical resources to meet the educational needs of our children.”

The Washington Post reported Monday that a Moody’s Analytics analysis of the Republican budget cut plan written by Mark Zandi found that 700,000 jobs would be eliminated through 2012 under the Republican plan,  which proposes to cut spending by $61 billion over the next seven months.

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