Cantor: No 'reason in the world' for Senate to reject spending bill

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) called it “really good news” that Senate Democrats appear to favor a GOP short-term bill to avert government shutdown.

The No. 2 House Republican said he’s heard indications that leading Senate Democrats support the measure that would cut $4 billion in spending to keep the government operating through March 18.

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“We don’t see why there’s any reason in the world the Senate doesn’t accept that, indications are that they do, and if they accept that, perhaps they are now buying into the notion that we need to return back to ’08 levels,” Cantor told reporters at a press conference in his office suite.

The House must pass that measure early this week to send it to the Senate before current government funding expires at day's end Friday.

A week and a half ago, the House passed a long-term continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the government for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that measure, which would cut $61 billion in spending from 2010 funding, was a non-starter in the upper chamber.

Cantor, who was joined by Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), said Republicans don’t want to see a government shutdown.

“If you accept the premise that you can cut $4 billion in two weeks, you keep walking down that line of thinking and you can get to the '08 levels in seven months, you've just got to do it $1 billion at a time,” Roskam said.

Cantor and Roskam blamed Reid for not acting yet on a government funding bill. However, the Constitution requires funding bills to originate in the House.

On a related front, Cantor attacked a report issued by Moody’s chief economist, Mark Zandi, saying the House GOP long-term continuing resolution would cost 700,000 jobs.

Cantor said “it’s important to ask the question and differentiate what type of jobs he is talking about, is he talking about government jobs, and, if so, why is the government hiring people it can’t afford to pay?”