Budget Battle Revolves Around What To Cut
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And as the House debates the spending bill now, lawmakers are reframing their ideological battles as fights over money. NPR's Audie Cornish reports.
AUDIE CORNISH: Whether they were dealing with clean air regulations or special interest money in elections or the new financial industry laws, most of the amendments seem to rehash the policy debates of the last two years. Georgia Republican Tom Price explained it this way.
TOM PRICE: This side tends to believe in more regulation and more oppression, this side tends to believe in less regulation and less oppression. This side believes in big government solutions, we believe in people. It's pretty simple.
ANNA ESHOO: You want to try and hurt agencies that carry out what the Congress does? That's where your party is. That's where your disdain lies. But I think this is a march to folly.
CORNISH: The House bill, a stop-gap spending measure known as a continuing resolution, or CR, would go next to the Senate, where Democrats are not impressed by the House pileup. Here's New York Senator Charles Schumer.
CHARLES SCHUMER: I think there are 400 legislative items that have nothing to do with spending added to the CR. How are you going to keep the government flowing forward? How are you going to negotiate a budget act if you're putting all this ideological baggage in the CR?
CORNISH: Senate Democrats say they have too few days to review the bill so they want to pass another temporary bill that keeps spending frozen at current levels while they work out a deal. That idea was rejected by House Speaker John Boehner.
JOHN BOEHNER: Our goal here is to cut spending. But I am not going to move any kind of short-term CR at current levels. When we say we're going to cut spending, read my lips: We're going to cut spending.
CORNISH: That upped the ante, sparking a round of finger-pointing between Boehner and Senate Democrats like Kent Conrad and Majority Leader Harry Reid.
BOEHNER: We have some Democrats here on Capitol Hill threatening to shut down the government.
KENT CONRAD: Well, then he would be responsible for shutting down the government.
HARRY REID: They shouldn't be threatening to shut down the government.
CORNISH: Audie Cornish, NPR News, the Capitol.
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