Cantor: House will cut $2 billion a week until Senate's plan clear

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday that House Republicans plan to keep cutting spending at a rate of $2 billion a week, through two-week spending bills, until the Senate makes clear its position on a budget for the rest of FY 2011.

"We would encourage the Senate and Leader Reid to act so that we can move forward, and until then, Mr. Speaker, I would say to my friend from Maryland that I would expect the House to continue its process of cutting $2 billion a week until we can see where the gentleman's caucus and then the Democratic Leader in the Senate is," Cantor told House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in a colloquy on the House floor.

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During the discussion, Hoyer attempted to find room to compromise with Cantor on how much spending needs to be cut in order to satisfy Republicans, but Cantor indicated Republicans are not willing to compromise.

Hoyer pointed out that the Democratic House last year approved a continuing resolution that spends $41 billion less in discretionary, non-defense spending than the Obama administration's FY 2011 spending proposal. As a result, he said, Republicans should be willing to compromise more with Democrats, since that is 41 percent of the Republican demand for a $100 billion cut.

"Might I advise the leader on the other side of the Capitol that there is, in fact, a willingness on your side to compromise between 0 and 100?" Hoyer asked Cantor.

But Cantor replied that Republicans are seeking a $100 billion cut from the White House proposal, or a $61 billion cut from FY 2010 spending levels, and that these are equal cuts because both get spending back to 2008 levels. As a result, he said holding to current spending levels is not enough to reach 2008 levels and noted that the House in February approved H.R. 1, which makes the $61 billion in cuts the GOP is looking for.

Cantor also cast a demand to hold to current spending levels as keeping the status quo.

"If the gentlemen knows the position of Senator Reid and where he would like to go, other than maintain the status quo, that's what we're looking for," Cantor said.

Hoyer predicted that no compromise would be reached unless Republicans are willing to negotiate this. 

"If that's the status quo, then I suggest to him he is not going to get to $100 billion, which he represented," Hoyer said. "If that's the position, then I think we will not be able to reach agreement, because there appears to be no ability to compromise in that context."

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