By Mike Lillis - 04/12/11 04:36 PM EDT
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he's reserving judgment for a closer look at the legislation, which House Republicans unveiled early Tuesday morning.
"I don't think either side has had an opportunity to review it fully," Hoyer told reporters during a press conference at the Capitol. "My presumption is they're not sure where their people are, and we haven't asked our people where they are at this point in time. We'll have to see, first of all, what the specifics are of the legislation."
Negotiated between House Republicans and Democrats in the White House and Senate, the six-month 2011 spending bill cuts almost $40 billion in federal programs this year, including a long list of health, education and nutrition initiatives traditionally championed by the Democrats.
The vote will be a tough one for House Democrats, as they'll be forced to choose between cutting programs they support or bucking a Democratic president they're hoping to return to the White House in 2012. A House leadership aide said Monday that Democrats are expecting a split vote in the caucus.
Hoyer did not indicate Tuesday whether Democrats will whip the vote.
House Democrats unanimously opposed Republicans’ initial 2011 spending bill, which included $61 billion in cuts this fiscal year from 2010 levels. The Democrats said they were concerned about the effect on the still-fragile economy after several leading economists estimated the bill would eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Hoyer on Tuesday noted it's too early for lawmakers to have the advantage of jobs estimates under the bipartisan agreement, but he claimed that Democrats had "made a bad situation less bad."
"The mix is much different," Hoyer said of the $39.9 billion in cuts under the deal.
"I don't think it's going to be positive," he added, in reference to the effect on jobs, "but on the other hand, I think it's going to be less than what was calculated under the $61 billion in cuts."
A CNN/Opinion Research poll this week found the spending agreement was considerably more popular with Democrats than with Republicans.