House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) warned Friday that next week's short-term funding measure will be the last one he supports.
Hoyer made the threat during a lengthy colloquy with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) after the Republican said the House expected to vote on a new three-week spending bill on Tuesday.
"You may keep passing these two weeks at a time, none of us want to shut down government," Hoyer said. "But I will tell you that while I and some of my colleagues may vote to do this one more time, for me it's the last time."
Cantor said the three-week spending bill would cut about $6 billion more from fiscal year 2010 levels, in line with the pace of cuts in H.R. 1, the House-passed FY 2011 spending bill. Hoyer pressed Cantor repeatedly to make a counter-offer to the $10 billion in cuts that Democrats have proposed from FY 2010 levels, but Cantor said the Senate and White House need to be more involved in the process.
"It's not just the House, it's trying to work with the Senate as well as the White House," Cantor said. "The problem is the White House has not indicated where it wants to go. I just don't see where the leadership is on the part of the White House.
"We're waiting to see what position the White House will take so that we can move forward and begin the job that we're supposed to be about right now, which is the next fiscal year," Cantor added.
In light of that response, Hoyer said Republicans' unwillingness to make a counter-offer to the $10 billion Democrats are willing to cut poses a risk of a government shutdown. But Cantor said the problem is that Democrats are not willing to cut nearly enough in light of the $1.5 trillion deficit the U.S. faces this year.
"That's the problem," Cantor said. "We've got to work harder to cut more so that private sector jobs can be created."
He also noted that the Senate has not yet proved that it is willing to accept any specific level of cuts, as the Democratic offer of $10 billion in cuts was not approved this week by the Senate.
"Does the gentleman know what kind of cuts the Senate can support at the 60-vote level, because I don't," he said. "So I don't see a counter-offer there. I don't see a position that the Senate or the gentleman's side of the aisle has taken."
Hoyer agreed that the Senate has not accepted a $10 billion cut, but said nonetheless that President Obama has said he could support the Democratic proposal, and that Republicans should make a counter-offer.