Pence: If necessary, fund the government one day at a time

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) called for a showdown with “Senate liberals” Monday, saying the GOP must not retreat from its plan to slash $61 billion even if it means funding the government just one day at a time.

“If this continuing resolution ran out on April 8, I think we send to [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] our bill with our priorities in it, our cuts in it, and if the string runs out and we run out of funding then we can meet every day and pass a one-day resolution to fund the government and send it over until he finally gets to the negotiation table and does something real and meaningful,” Pence said on "The Cisco Cotto" show, a Chicago-based program.

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Pence was referring to the three-week stopgap for federal spending, which will fund government operations through April 8 while cutting $6 billion from the budget. Pence led a coalition of 54 Republicans last week in opposing that measure.

Pence backs the original CR, passed earlier this year by the Republican-controlled House, which would slash $61 billion from current spending levels for the remainder of fiscal 2011. That measure was defeated in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The government has been operating on short-term CRs while the parties negotiate a long-term spending plan.

“This early fight is an important one. I expect that when this current three-week resolution runs out we are going to have a fight,” Pence said. “Harry Reid has signaled he is not going to budge off of this kind of slow nickel-dime approach without a fight.”

Pence said that once Reid called the Republicans plan to cut $61 billion “reckless, irresponsible and mean-spirited,” Pence just threw his hands up in the air and said, “It's time to pick a fight.'”

But Pence said that, despite his desire to start a showdown in the Senate, he is not advocating a government shutdown.

“Let me be clear,” said Pence. “Nobody wants to shut down the government, and there wouldn't be any reason we would have to do that."