Some Republican lawmakers who have insisted on deep budget cuts said they will agree to a $1.05 trillion stopgap measure to fund the U.S. government.
Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, said he and other Tea-Party backed Republicans would back the $1.05 trillion measure to fund the government for about six months into fiscal year 2013 even if it means agreeing to higher spending levels.
“Republicans don’t want to shut the government down, particularly conservatives,” DeMint said today in an interview.
Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said he would support such a measure even if the group proposed government spending at less than $1 trillion.
The Republican-led House and the Democratic-led Senate face the inevitable prospect of extending government funding through a stopgap measure, known as a continuing resolution, because Congress hasn’t agreed on any spending bills for the 2013 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
Senate leaders have pressed for a $1.05 trillion funding level, which was agreed to under last year’s legislation known as the Budget Control Act to increase the nation’s debt ceiling. House Republicans have demanded less spending that amounts to an additional $19 billion in cuts in discretionary spending, woven into their annual budget.
DeMint said today that he and other Tea Party-backed lawmakers have told House Speaker John Boehner they could support a six-month spending bill at levels agreed to in last year’s debt-limit law to avoid a fight over government funding in a post-election session.
“The levels are not as important now,” DeMint said, adding that it was more important to deprive Senate Democrats of leverage they could gain by using a stopgap measure during the post-election lame-duck session as a vehicle for “a lot of other bad legislation.”
Meanwhile, Jordan, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, “is open to supporting a short term” continuing resolution “that gets us past the lame-duck session” and doesn’t spend more than the levels in the Budget Control Act, said Meghan Snyder, Jordan’s press secretary.
“We can stomach that,” said Representative Tim Huelskamp, a freshman Republican from Kansas. “Let’s get the budget done for six months and then see what happens in the election. To have a lame-duck Congress and, potentially, a lame-duck president deciding that -- I think most Americans would say ‘No.’”
Representative Mick Mulvaney, a South Carolina Republican, said in addition to backing a six-month measure he would be willing to drop demands that the legislation bar funding for the administration’s health-care overhaul.
Representative Steny Hoyer, the House’s second-ranking Democrat, said today Republicans are prepared to accept that funding level as a “pragmatic judgment.” If Republicans are perceived as shutting down the government, “it would hurt them badly at the polls,” Hoyer of Maryland said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
Neither Boehner of Ohio nor Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, have publicly discussed the length or funding level for the stopgap measure. Both leaders have yet to iron out differences among their caucuses.
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