House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that the House will vote this week on a short-term spending bill to fund the government for seven more days that includes $12 billion in cuts and fully funds the U.S. military.
The bill, which Democrats have already rejected, would buy extra time for negotiations between the House, Senate and White House on a measure to fund the government through this fiscal year. The latest spending bill expires Friday.
The number of cuts demanded — $12 billion — would be the equivalent of cutting $624 billion from the federal budget over the year. The decision is likely a strategic move to put the ball in the Senate’s court, which Democrats control, making them appear responsible for a government shutdown if they refuse to pass it.
“Republicans have no interest in shutting down the government,” Boehner told reporters Wednesday. “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.”
The last time Republican leaders held a vote on a short-term funding extension, 54 caucus members defected, which left House Democrats to keep it alive. An early sign that Boehner can rely on his party for the votes this time, however, Indiana Republican Mike Pence, an influential member among conservatives in the party who voted no last time, announced that he would support the proposal.
Reid took to the Senate floor shortly after Boehner made the announcement, and suggested that Republicans were not coming to the bargaining table in good faith.
“It’s not a winner-take-all,” Reid said. “We’ve been more than reasonable. More than fair. We meet them halfway, they say no. We meet them more than halfway, they still say no. We meet them all the say, they still say no.”
“We know the Republicans are afraid of the Tea Party, that has been established,” he added. “Now it looks like they’re also afraid of making the tough choices we have to make. But tough choices are what governing is all about.”
President Obama has scheduled a meeting with Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss the ongoing budget negotiations Wednesday night at 8:45, the White House confirmed.