By Molly K. Hooper and Erik Wasson - 03/04/11 06:09 PM EST
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday called the Democratic plan to trim $6.5 billion from last year's spending "indefensible and unacceptable."
"Yesterday, the White House and congressional Democrats finally announced their position. Unfortunately, it is little more than the status quo, and the status quo is indefensible and unacceptable,” Boehner said in a statement Friday morning.
House Majority Leader Cantor (R-Va.) also said the Democratic plan to fund the government through Sept. 30 "falls short" and is "not a serious attempt to get our fiscal house in order."
"Less government spending equals more private sector jobs, and House Republicans applied that principle to our long-term funding measure, H.R. 1," he said in a statement.
The Senate Appropriations Committee released the Democratic alternative Friday. With the GOP bill cutting $57 billion more in spending this year, and the Senate CR cutting $6.5 billion, that leaves the two sides $50.5 billion apart. The Senate is to hold test votes on the competing proposals on Tuesday.
Neither is expected to pass, an indication that both sides will have to give something to avert a shutdown after March 18, when the stopgap extension expires.
“The Speaker said that this will allow the negotiations to start," Reid said on the Senate floor Friday.
GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) called the administration plan “outrageous” and “nonsense." He objected to the vote on the House bill and Reid invoked a cloture motion on it. McConnell said Republicans need the weekend to study the 350-page bill by Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).
The cuts in the Democratic plan come from a wide variety of programs including disaster preparedness, nonproliferation, job training, transportation and wildfire prevention.
They are culled from areas cut in the House seven-month CR that have been identified by the White House as acceptable. The bill also includes $2 billion less for the Pentagon than Republicans want in their plan.
Democrats claim that with the $6.5 billion in additional cuts they’re proposing, they have met Republicans halfway.
By the Democrat math, the GOP is cutting $102.3 billion in their bill compared to President Obama's 2011 budget request, which was never enacted. Add the $40.8 billion cut by the March 4 stopgap bill and the $4 billion cut by the current CR to the new offer, and the total is $51 billion in cuts.
“The continuing resolution we introduce today, which is $51 billion below the president’s budget request, imposes responsible cuts and terminations across a wide variety of programs. In contrast to the House bill, the Senate proposal will allow the government to continue operating at reduced levels without major disruptions that would set back our economic recovery and eliminate countless American jobs,” Inouye said.
“If enacted in its current form, the House bill would lead to furloughs and to premature termination or postponement of contracts that will end up costing taxpayers additional dollars in the future. The House bill would cause backlogs in Social Security claims, undermine nuclear weapons safety, remove more than 200,000 children from of Head Start, and close poison control centers across America. These are just a few specific examples of the irresponsible nature of the House Republican bill as a whole,” he added.
This post was initially published at 11:54 a.m.