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Shutdown Averted?

February 25, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

It’s looking like the government may not be shutting down after all, at least not on March 4. House Republicans today unveiled their bill to extend government funding for two weeks, and the response from Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid’s office is considerably more positive than what we’ve been hearing lately. The bill would cut a little more than $4 billion from the current funding level over a two week period and it does not include any of the controversial language that the Republicans included in their full-year funding bill, like defunding Planned Parenthood or blocking the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

The Republicans’ cuts include $1.24 billion in program terminations and $2.7 in earmark eliminations from last year’s funding bill. Here’s the full summary and here’s the text (PDF).

Reid spokesman Jon Summers said that he is “encouraged” by the proposal. “The plan Republicans are floating today sounds like a modified version of what Democrats were talking about.” Summers said. “We’re glad they think it’s a good idea.” According to The Hill, Reid still prefers a one-month funding extension, not a two-week extension like the Republicans are proposing. But that seems to be the only real rub at this point.

House Republicans have already scheduled an emergency Rules Committee meeting Monday afternoon to pave the way for a floor debate. The bill will most likely pass the House on Tuesday morning and be sent to the Senate right away, giving them 3 and a half days to pass it before the government shuts down. Obviously, in the slow moving Senate, that’s not a lot of time. If any one senator decides they want to block the bill, for instance because one of their earmarks was eliminated, they could force the Senate to go through a whole series of procedural votes that would drag things out beyond the deadline.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Hal Rogers [R, KY-5] is pictured above. 

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