House Passes Spending Bill
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
As NPR's Audie Cornish reports, the bill simply extends for another two weeks the heated debate over what and how much to cut.
AUDIE CORNISH: Stop me if you've heard this story before: The House has passed a temporary measure to prevent federal agencies from running out of money.
NORRIS: Here we go again, debating another continuing resolution. I'm starting to feel like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day."
CORNISH: The last measure the House passed was supposed to cover the rest of the fiscal year. It had more than $60 billion in cuts and legislated on everything from environmental regulations to defense contracts. And it was considered DOA by Democrats. Here's James Moran of Virginia.
NORRIS: This bill has more poison pills in it than Rasputin's medicine cabinet.
CORNISH: The two-week measure seeks $4 billion in cuts, mostly in earmarks plus education programs the president has already targeted. But that didn't make it any more appetizing to Democrats like Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
NORRIS: I'm absolutely against starting down a series of short-term cuts, of short-term CRs that results in a bleed of the American middle class, a slow bleed.
CORNISH: But that is just where the debate is stalled. Democrats and the White House are floating all kinds of ideas to buy more time to negotiate a final bill covering the rest of the year, like what about a 30-day extension freezing government spending and, ooh, how about a four-week bill with $8 billion in cuts. And then, there is...
NORRIS: If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.
CORNISH: House Speaker John Boehner isn't interested.
NORRIS: If there had been a conversation about this 10 days ago or two days ago, you know, we might have had something to talk about. But the fact is, is that we were forced to move on our own. I think we're taking a responsible path forward to keep the government open and to meet our commitment to cut spending.
CORNISH: Audie Cornish, NPR News, the Capitol.
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