By Molly K. Hooper - 03/08/11 08:50 PM EST
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he has told the White House to put forward a plan to cut spending for the remainder of 2011, as the House and Senate attempt to avert a government shutdown.
Cantor said he told White House Chief of Staff William Daley as much in a telephone call on Monday.
According to Cantor, Daley said he would talk to President Obama and get back to the majority leader on Tuesday. As of 2:30 p.m., Cantor had not heard from Daley, he said.
The House approved a long-term funding measure to cut $61 billion in spending through the end of the fiscal year in September. But because Senate Democrats opposed that plan and Obama threatened to veto it, the House and Senate had to approve a two-week extension with $4 billion in cuts
That stopgap expires March 18.
Asked whether he agrees with Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calf.) that the House would need to pass another short-term spending bill to avert a shutdown, Cantor responded that “all options are on the table.”
Cantor was emphatic that Republicans don’t want shutdown, and would continue to pass continuing resolutions, as the temporary funding measures are known, as long as they cut spending from current levels.
“We do not want to shut down the government — we do not want to shut down the government — we want to make sure that we cut spending and operate this government in a fiscally responsible way,” Cantor said at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing.
Cantor responded to Democratic criticisms that House Republicans haven’t touched the largest costs in the government: entitlement spending for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
He said the GOP “vision for entitlement spending” would be included in the budget to be put forth in April, adding that Democrats haven’t taken any steps to reform the expensive programs.
The No. 2 House Republican addressed reignired Tea Party concerns over GOP leaders’ decision not to waive House rules during the long-term CR debate to allow an amendment rescinding nearly $105 billion to implement the president’s healthcare law.
During debate on the long-term CR, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) offered a measure to rescind that amount.
In recent days, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a darling of the Tea Party, renewed the controversy over that spending.
“I don’t quite know where the $105 [billion] number comes from, there certainly
[are] monies authorized in the healthcare legislation that now come within the definition of mandatory funding. In order for us to pull that back, there needs to be a law passed,” Cantor said noting that Republicans want to repeal, defund and delay implementation of that law.
“We did what we did on H.R. 1 [the long-term CR] because it would have required us to waive the rules of the House,” Cantor explained, “and we have said we are going to have our committees look into mandatory funds and we are going to produce legislation that will actually do what needs to be done.”