White House meeting set; GOP readies $12B in spending cuts

House Republicans will vote Thursday on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running for another week while cutting $12 billion from the budget, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Wednesday.

Boehner scheduled the vote as the White House said the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would meet with Obama on Wednesday evening to continue talks on a spending-cut deal. It wasn't immediately clear whether House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate spending committee, would participate in Wednesday night's talks.

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The House vote sets up a confrontation with Senate Democrats and the White House as negotiators struggle to complete a budget agreement in time to avert a government shutdown this weekend. Democrats are opposed to the latest GOP measure, which would also fund the military for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Reid took to the Senate floor Wednesday evening to blame House Republicans for not compromising and to say that another short-term measure was not acceptable.

"They’ll say it’s ‘short-term,’ but what that really means is shortcut – a shortcut around doing our jobs," Reid said. "We all heard the president say yesterday that he won’t accept anything short of a full solution. The president is right. We can’t keep funding the country with one stopgap after another."

Leaders in both parties said talks on a long-term agreement were progressing, but time is running out.

“I think we’ve made some progress, yes, but we are not finished. Not by a long shot,” Boehner told reporters after briefing his conference on Wednesday.

The planned vote on Thursday marks another attempt by House Republicans to put the onus on Senate Democrats to prevent a shutdown at the last minute.

“Republicans have no interest in shutting down the government,” an exasperated Boehner declared at the conclusion of his press conference. “Shutting down the government, I think, is irresponsible and I think it will end up costing the American taxpayers more money than we’re already spending.”

While Reid has deemed the one-week extension a nonstarter, the bill could also serve as a legislative vehicle to enact a simpler stopgap measure if a deal is reached by Thursday, Rogers told The Hill.


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If it appears that all sides are close to an agreement, Rogers said that the one-week bill could be amended in such a way that the House, Senate and White House would support a temporary funding extension.

Rogers said that the House may not need to vote on his bill as currently written.

“It may have to be modified, as we go along here, if some good things happen, and we reach some agreements, then we might be able to change that vehicle … to give us some time,” Rogers said.

Should negotiators reach agreement on a long-term bill by Friday, they could amend the GOP bill in order to buy a few days to translate a deal into legislative language and vote on it.

White House press secretary Jay Carney reiterated that a one-week extension was unacceptable to the administration, unless it were to simply allow time for a final deal to clear procedural hurdles. 

"What the president said yesterday is what his position is today, which is that he would entertain a essentially clean, very short-term [extension] if there were an agreement … and all that was necessary was a few more days to essentially file the paperwork and get it through the process on Capitol Hill," Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.

—Michael O’Brien contributed reporting. 

This story was posted at 3:46 p.m. and and last updated at 6:34 p.m.