Showdown at the D.C. Corral

February 22, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

Hang onto your hats, folks. It could be a rough ride over the next couple of weeks as Republicans and Democrats duke it out over spending priorities in the waning days of the continuing resolution that expires on March 4 and has funded the government temporarily thus far in fiscal year 2011.

Over the weekend, the House passed its CR for the remaining months of fiscal year 2011 after an all-night session. The vote came in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday and followed weeks of debate and political posturing.

Now the spending debate moves squarely into the Senate, which is expected to start work on its own spending blueprint for the rest of FY 2011 next week. The Senate’s spending proposal is expected to look very different from the one in the Republican-controlled House, given the vastly different priorities of the Democrats who still enjoy a Senate majority.

Since the midterm elections, Republicans have laid out a spending vision that cuts deeply into domestic discretionary spending and H.R. 1 followed through, cutting $60 billion from programs across the government spectrum.

Democrats have charged the Republicans with cutting too far and endangering not only the social safety nets many vulnerable populations depend on but potentially threatening the fragile economic recovery that is slowly pulling the country out of recession.

President Obama has already threatened to veto any bills that cut too deeply at certain priorities.

Faced with a very tight timeline to reach agreement on how to fund the remainder of FY 2011, a government shutdown is looming. Some observers think another temporary CR could be called for, perhaps for as short a period as a couple of weeks. But House Speaker John Boehner(R-Ohio) has already pledged not to move another temporary CR forward no matter what happens.

It’s anyone’s guess how things will shape up in the countdown to March 4 but one thing is certain– it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Subscribers to Local/State Funding Report can read continuing, in-depth coverage of the CR debate in their weekly newsletter.

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