To Cut or Not to Cut Remains the Question

February 24, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | 1 comment

Like death and taxes, the federal government is one of those things that’s always certain to be humming along in the background, right?!  If the D.C. powers that be don’t pass a spending bill by March 4, that humming will sound more like screeching as many government functions grind to a halt. Here’s how things stand in the short term.

The House passed a continuing resolution over the Presidents Day weekend that included more than $60 billion in cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which would keep the federal government funded through September 30, 2011.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said that the deep cuts appearing in that House CR are unacceptable.

Reid is expected to introduce a short-term CR in the Senate next week that would extend government spending at its current level for 30 days to buy more time for Congress to work through the budgetary morass it faces in setting spending levels for the rest of the fiscal year.

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has indicated that any extension of current spending is a non-starter for Republicans, who are pushing hard for spending reductions in any FY 2011 measure.

Reports circulated yesterday that House Republicans will introduce a new, short-term CR proposal next week. According to press reports, this CR counteroffer would trim $4 billion from spending for a period of two weeks, a figure calculated as proportional to the $61 billion in cuts proposed in the seven-month spending package that the House already passed.

Can you see the problem here?

Given Democrats’ avowals that the Republican cuts go too far, a temporary extension with prorated cuts doesn’t really smack of successful compromise, does it? That March 4 deadline is creeping ever closer (is that the faint sound of screeching?), accompanied by increasing pressure on both parties to avoid a government shutdown.

Should both parties back down and agree to a temporary CR to avoid a government shutdown? How seriously should cuts – even largely symbolic cuts – be considered? How would a shutdown impact you?


One Comment

  1. redwest
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Yep… maintain the status quo and kick the can a little further down the road. Somebody’ll fix it eventually, so why make those tough decisions yourself, right? You go Harry!

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