House Dem leaders divided ahead of vote on GOP's spending bill

House Democratic leaders are at odds over a GOP proposal to extend federal funding for two weeks to prevent a government shutdown.

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Tuesday that he'll likely vote for the bill when it hits the chamber floor later in the day. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), the vice chairman of the caucus, said he would oppose it.

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"I will probably vote in favor of it even though I have severe questions about it," Larson told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday. "No one wants to shut down government. But at the same token, I don't want to see this death by 1,000 slashes." 

Becerra disagreed, arguing that Republicans are threatening a game of Russian roulette with the nation's economy – a game he said he's not willing to play.

"I'm not going to vote for this," he said. "I'm not the one that's playing with the toy." 

"We're not interested in shutting government down, but Republicans, by doing a two-week [continuing resolution], are essentially saying, 'If you don't vote for this, as bad as it is, the government shuts down,'" Becerra added.

"You can do that only so many times," he said. "At some point the gun will go off."

Democratic leaders in the House are not whipping votes on the spending bill, which is an indication that many members of the caucus will vote for it. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is only urging his caucus to vote no on a rule that would block any amendments to the legislation. 

GOP leaders introduced legislation Friday to fund the federal government through March 18 — a two-week extension designed to allow lawmakers to hash out an agreement to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1. The bill includes roughly $4 billion in cuts — $1.24 billion by eliminating programs targeted for cuts under President Obama's 2012 budget propel, and $2.7 billion by defunding earmarks.

The House on Tuesday is scheduled to approve the measure, which would then move to the Senate. 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) met Monday night to discuss a strategy to prevent a government shutdown. Boehner rebuffed a proposal from Reid during the meeting to extend government funding for 30 days, a source confirmed to The Hill. 

Boehner and Reid don't have much time left to negotiate: Washington loses its authority to spend money on Friday.

Erik Wasson contributed to this story, which was updated at 11:10 a.m.