Republicans will pass short-term measures to keep funding the government rather than allow a shutdown, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday.
Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said that if the GOP-held House can't reach an agreement with President Obama and Democrats in the Senate on a continuing resolution (CR) funding the government the rest of this fiscal year, it would pursue temporary funding measures, and not allow a government shutdown.
"If we don't get agreement in the meantime, yes, we do think there's going to be some sort of situation where there's a short-term CR," Ryan said on "Good Morning America."
"I think we're going to have to negotiate exactly how those short-term CRs occur," he added.
Congress voted last fall to fund day-to-day government operations through March 4. Republicans have proposed a spending measure to fund the government the rest of this year that would cut $61 billion from current spending levels, and $100 billion compared to Obama's original spending request last year.
The House is expected to vote on that measure this week, but it is unclear what will emerge from the lower chamber. Some Republicans want to cut much more deeply than the $61 billion proposed by Ryan and GOP leaders.
The passage of a short-term CR to keep the government funded while negotiations continue on the longer measure will also complicate plans by forcing Republicans to squeeze their cuts into a smaller window. The GOP's proposed measure would cut $61 billion from current spending through Sept. 30. The longer that measure is delayed, the tougher those cuts become.
Democrats have sought to raise fears that Republicans in the House are seeking a government shutdown like the ones the House GOP forced during its budget showdown with President Clinton in the 1990s. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office has consistently hammered away at any perceived statement by a Republican leader opening the door to a shutdown.
Ryan said Tuesday, however, that Republicans would rather continue funding government operations if an agreement can't be reached by March 4. He said Republicans "obviously don't want to see a shutdown occur," but would also be wary of being a "rubber stamp" for current spending levels that the GOP views as too high.