Dems: GOP stopgap with $12B in cuts, abortion restrictions a 'non-starter'

"It's a non-starter," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), co-chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. "This is all about an ideological agenda. It's not a part of the deficit debate."

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Republicans on Monday night introduced a one-week continuing resolution (CR) to extend government funding if talks over a long-term deal don't bear fruit by day’s end Friday, after which the government's spending authority expires. The proposal would cut $12 billion this year; it also includes language to bar federal and local funding for abortion services in Washington, D.C.

Many Democrats Tuesday morning had not heard anything of the proposal, which GOP leaders on the House Appropriations Committee introduced near midnight on Monday. The Democrats' caucus meeting Tuesday morning featured a visit from Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, who focused largely on state-based labor fights, not the new GOP CR, according to lawmakers emerging from the meeting.

Informed of the abortion rider, some Democrats said it would only complicate an already complicated debate.

"It just makes it worse and worse — but no surprise," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.). "Nothing they [Republicans] do is a surprise." 

Other liberal Democrats, including Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), agreed.

Moran objected to the abortion language and the temporary nature of the new CR. The Virginia Democrat said the bill "should be rejected," and called on the White House to take a more aggressive role in hammering out a long-term deal before the end of the week.

Democratic leaders are accusing Republicans of using the deficit spending battle to kill programs that have long been targeted by GOP leaders.

"This isn't about compromise," Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. "We hear much about how it's all about the deficit, and getting this deficit under control, but really, truly what is it about? It's about ending Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid as we know it."

House Republicans say they intend to vote on the short-term CR Thursday as a backup plan if a long-term deal isn't reached by Saturday. Some lawmakers say there probably isn't enough time to pass either.

"When you look at what time it is today," said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), "we're going to have a shutdown."

The showdown over 2011 funding comes as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released Republicans’ budget blueprint for 2012.