Lawmakers: Give Obama What He Wants to Avoid Shutdown
Others vow to press forward with shutdown strategy.
Several Democrats have an idea to stave off the looming government shutdown: give President Obama exactly what he wants.
A new bill would call for negotiations to raise the spending caps established by the 2011 Budget Control Act with corresponding offsets. If those efforts failed, however, the measure would automatically raise funding levels to those proposed by Obama in his fiscal 2016 budget.
The Republican-led Congress and the White House remain miles apart on how to fund agencies past Sept. 30, when the current appropriation bills are set to expire. Obama has promised to veto any bill that does not raise spending beyond the amount required by sequestration.
Democratic Reps. Chris Van Hollen, Md., Nita Lowey, N.Y., Rosa DeLauro, Conn., and Barbara Lee, Calif., introduced the 2015 Prevent a Shutdown Act on Thursday, though it is unlikely to accomplish its stated goal. Republicans have consistently derided Obama’s budget for its spending increases and are unlikely to go along with any plan that could automatically implement them.
The less-than-stellar odds did not stop the efforts of the lawmakers, who are desperate to avoid an appropriations lapse.
“Two years ago, Republicans forced a shameful and damaging government shutdown,” Van Hollen said. “Today, we face another self-inflicted wound to our economy because the GOP refuses to come to the table and negotiate.”
The bill would boost funding for both Defense and non-Defense discretionary accounts.
Also on Thursday, conservative House members vowed to vote against spending bills -- including a stopgap continuing resolution -- regardless of the overall spending levels. Instead, House Freedom Caucus members said they would vote against any appropriations measure that continued federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Obama has also threatened to veto any bill that defunds the women’s health organization. Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, remains undeterred. He said in an interview on C-SPAN Thursday that if he and his colleagues make their case in a “compelling, repetitive way,” the American people would be understanding of his tactics.