By Russell Berman - 04/05/11 02:28 PM EDT
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) accused the White House of increasing the chances of a government shutdown by rejecting a Republican bid to extend federal funding for a week and finance the military for the rest of the year.
The GOP posted legislation late Monday that would keep the government open for a week after Friday’s deadline while cutting $12 billion over the seven days. The bill is aimed at buying more time for stalled negotiations on a long-term plan, but it would fund the Defense Department through September.
“The White House has indicated now that they are already rejecting that notion, which is raising the risk for a government shutdown,” Cantor told reporters after a GOP conference meeting on Tuesday morning.
Cantor said the GOP had not decided whether to vote on the latest stopgap measure, but that it was an option.
The White House refused to say whether it had communicated to Capitol Hill leaders that another short-term spending measure would be unacceptable.
"I don't want to presume we can't reach a deal when we believe that we can," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday morning at an off-camera gaggle.
Carney refused to explicitly comment one way or another on Cantor's claim, citing the ongoing, simultaneous dialogue between Republican and Democratic leaders with President Obama.
"It is not necessary to continue a process of short-term [CRs] when an agreement is within reach," he said.