The House of Representatives may vote on Tuesday on the latest stopgap bill to avert a federal government shutdown, with a three-week budget deal brokered by Republicans and Democrats on the table.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's weekly schedule shows a 10:00 a.m. starting time for morning debate on the House floor on Tuesday and a 12:00 p.m. time for legislative business with the bill in question on the agenda.
The budget measure is H.J 48 - Further continuing Appropriations Amendments, 2011. The bill was formally introduced by the House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers on Friday.
The bill will fund the federal government until April 8. Lawmakers have until March 18, when the current week-long extension will expire - to pass the new bill.
Lawmakers have not been able to agree on a long-term bill to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year 2011, which ends on September 30.
The latest bill will fund the federal government at the current rates for three weeks, but will prevent a government shutdown as Congressional leaders negotiate on the long-term plan.
Rogers said Friday that [a] government shutdown is not an option, period.
This legislation also includes $6 billion in spending cuts - a $2 billion cut for every week of funding - to continue our efforts to rein in spending and put a dent in our massive, $1.5 trillion deficit, he said.
House Speaker John Boehner said Friday that the short-term funding measure will give the American people another round of spending cuts as they wait for the Democrats who run Washington - in the Senate and White House - to determine a position other than the status quo.
He said the burden remains on the Senate and White House to come forward with a coherent position that will facilitate discussions leading to enactment of a long-term measure that cuts spending.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the cuts agreed to in Friday's bill were cuts already proposed by the Democrats that will also be free of any ideological, special-interest legislation.
He also stated that it's crucial that we avoid a government shutdown, but continually resorting to stopgap spending bills is a bad long-term policy and could be bad for our economy.
If Republicans are serious about cutting the deficit, they should be open to new solutions and ideas instead of clinging to extreme policy positions. It's time to work together toward a long-term solution that makes smart, responsible cuts but doesn't threaten our economic future.
Reid warned that Republican-proposed cuts of $100 billion for the remainder of the fiscal year would harm the economy.
It's too dangerous for our recovering economy and would cost 700,000 American jobs, he said.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama also weighed in on budget issues at a press conference on Friday.
There are going to be certain things that House Republicans want that I will not accept. And the reason I won't accept them is not because I don't think we've got to cut the budget; we do. And we've already put forward significant cuts in the discretionary budget, some of which have not made members of my own party happy, Obama said.
He said said he would not approve of cuts to Pell Grants - which provide for students' college education. He said he would also reject [t]he Republican proposal, to eliminate 200,000 Head Start slots that would mean the layoffs of 55,000 teachers - that doesn't make sense.
The principle that I've tried to put forward since the State of the Union is we've got to live within our means, we've got to get serious about managing our budget, but we can't stop investing in our people. We can't stop investing in research and development. We can't stop investing in infrastructure -- those things that are going to make us competitive over the long term and will help us win the future, he said.