By Mike Lillis - 03/15/11 03:47 PM EDT
The Democrats' patience with short-term spending measures — like the one slated for a vote Tuesday — is growing thin, a leading House Democrat warned.
Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters Tuesday that, while members have been split over the Republicans' temporary spending bills, more and more Democrats stand ready to oppose another short-term measure in the future.
As the House minority, Democrats are powerless to block the GOP bills on their own. But a caucus united in opposition would put more pressure on the White House and Senate to push back harder against the temporary measures.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) himself drew a line on the latest stopgap Monday, saying it should be the last.
“We would like to see this resolved,” he said.
The House on Tuesday is expected to vote on a Republican bill to extend government funding for three weeks. The measure, which includes $6 billion in spending cuts, is acknowledgment that the parties are still far from a deal to fund the government through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The proposal follows a two-week extension enacted earlier in the month. That bill, which included $4 billion in cuts, split the Democrats 104 to 85.
On Friday, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) said he'll support the GOP's latest three-week extension, but warned he'll oppose any additional temporary spending measures.
"For me it's the last time," Hoyer said in a colloquy with Cantor. "We need to have a plan to fund this government for the balance of the fiscal year to September 30. It is irresponsible for us not to have that."
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who voted against the $4 billion in spending cuts earlier in the month, implied she'd also oppose the $6 billion in cuts Tuesday.
Pelosi said the Democrats aren't whipping the vote, and was quick to downplay the significance of the final tally to the larger discussion of spending priorities.
"How the Democrats vote on this is not what we should be watching," she said. "Where we go from here is what is going to be important."
Pelosi also refuted criticisms that President Obama hasn't been assertive enough during the spending debate, saying she's "very satisfied with the leadership of the White House" throughout the discussion.