The House on Tuesday passed a stopgap funding bill that would cut $6 billion from current discretionary spending levels and keep the government operating through April 8. The House action comes as pressure increases on House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House to find a compromise on spending for the rest of the fiscal year.
The House approved the bill 271 to 158 with 54 Republicans joining 104 Democrats against the measure, which now goes to the Senate for passage before the end of the week when the current CR expires.
"While a short-term funding measure such as this is not the preferable way to fund the government, at this point, it is vital," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. "The budget for fiscal year 2011 - which was punted to us by the previous Congress - is long, long overdue. I agree with many of my colleagues that we must get down to business and come to a final agreement as quickly as possible. "
Democrats blamed Republicans for refusing to come down from the $61 billion in cuts they intend to make from current spending levels, which also translates to $100 billion from President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget proposal -- a pledge Republicans made during last year's campaign.
"This is a lousy way to run a railroad," said House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who added that he does not expect Democrats to support another short-term extension." We need to come to agreement."