Harry Reid: We Will Pass House GOP Two-Week Spending Bill
Reid, speaking to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday, said the Senate would take up the temporary government funding measure in the next few days, saying this would allow time for negotiations between Senate Democrats and House Republicans on longer-term funding.
“I think we'll have a vote on that in the next 48 hours,” Reid said. “So we’ll pass this. And then we'll look to funding the government on a long-term basis. The president’s going to get involved in this. He has already talked to [House Speaker] Boehner in the last little bit. I've been in here when he did it. I talked to the White House quite a few times this morning. And we're going to work on long-term funding of this government.”
Reid said that part of those negotiations would be over the controversial amendments House Republicans attached to the last long-term funding bill they passed, H.R. 1. Among those amendments were initiatives that are unacceptable to liberal Democrats, including the defunding the major components of ObamaCare and denying any federal funds to Planned Parenthood.
“[I]t’s obvious that we would want more than two weeks to do this, but the Republicans are bound and determined to stuff the next matter with a lot of this really bad stuff out of H.R. 1,” said Reid. “And we're going to work with them. I'm anxious to meet with McConnell and Boehner and anyone from the White House any time. We need to work our way through this.”
Reid said that part of those negotiations would involve President Obama bringing public pressure on House Republicans over individual spending cuts, using the “bully pulpit” of the White House to oppose the GOP.
“I think that we have to find agreement,” said Reid. “I think the president feels that we have to find agreement. The president's going to take this to the American people because the only message that we have from the Republicans is to wipe out programs that are so important to people, especially people who can't help themselves, the middle class and other programs. So, no, we feel we're in a good position.”
The short-term bill the House is set to pass on Tuesday includes $4 billion in spending cuts previously endorsed by Democrats, making them hard for Reid and Obama to oppose. If the Senate passes the spending bill as Reid promised, it will fund the government through March 18, when Congress will have to pass another spending bill of some sort