By Mike Lillis - 04/05/11 05:15 PM EDT
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that he'll oppose a one-week extension of government funding proposed by Republicans hours earlier.
With the government's spending authority scheduled to expire Saturday, House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House are trying to hammer out a deal to extend federal funding through the fiscal year, which ends Oct. 1.
Fulfilling a request from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the GOP bill would fund the Pentagon through September – a provision Hoyer conceded would likely make the entire proposal more attractive to moderate Democrats.
Other provisions, however, already have more liberal Democrats up in arms.
Hoyer’s announcement marks a change of course for the House Democrats’ second in command, who twice voted last month in favor of short-term funding extensions – one for two weeks and another for three – to prevent a federal shutdown.
Hoyer said the latest proposal – which includes $12 billion in cuts this year – "is inconsistent" with claims from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that Republicans would fight hard for a long-term compromise rather than fall back on another temporary fix.
"It is an extraordinarily inefficient, ineffective and costly way of doing business, funding the largest enterprise in the world on a weekly basis," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. "I will oppose that."
Liberal Democrats have found several things not to like in the GOP proposal. For instance, the one-week extension cuts funding for WIC, a popular nutrition program for low-income women and children.
The continuing resolution (CR) also contains two contentious policy riders, one preventing the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S. and another barring the use of federal and local government funding for abortion services in Washington, D.C.
Citing the abortion language, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said Tuesday that the CR is "a non-starter."