WASHINGTON -- Congressional GOP leaders said on Tuesday that the Obama administration has informed them that it will oppose a last-ditch stopgap funding measure proposed by House Republicans to keep the government running for an additional week.
The Obama administration would neither confirm nor deny the reports. “That is getting ahead of the process,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said, when asked about a one-week continuing resolution. “We believe that we can reach an agreement on funding for the full year if we sit around the table with good faith efforts to approach this in a reasonable way.”
That said, on Tuesday morning, GOP lawmakers and aides from both parties on the Hill said that the administration had made its opposition to the measure clear.
“The White House has indicated now that they have already rejected that notion, which is raising the risk of government shutdown,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters. “We in the House have said consistently that we don't want to shut government down, we just want to decrease spending."
The stopgap measure, which would have cut $12 billion in government spending while funding the Pentagon for the remainder of the fiscal year, was pitched by GOP leadership as a mechanism to at least prolong negotiations over a long-term continuing resolution. But it was written, largely, on the Republican leadership’s terms and ignored repeated statements from the White House expressing concern about funding the government on one or two-week aliquots.
A top congressional aide told The Huffington Post that White House officials relayed their opposition to House GOP leadership in a phone call on Monday night citing both a lack of seriousness in the proposal and the de-linking of Pentagon funding from the rest of the budget. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would only go so far as to acknowledge and repeat the administration’s criticism of short-term funding measures.
“What we have said is that it is not necessary and not acceptable to continue to create a toll booth where you have to pay to keep the government [funded] every two weeks or one week or three weeks. That remains our position,” he said at an off-camera gaggle. “It is counterproductive, we think, to assume that we have to negotiate a short-term CR when we have an agreement on the table that can be reached for the full fiscal year.”
Carney, in all likelihood, was doing his best to keep negotiations cordial as Congressional leadership headed to the White House on Tuesday for late-stage negotiations on a longer-term CR. On the Hill, however, House Republicans were quick to pounce on and promote the White House’s opposition to the one-week stop gap -- hurrying to frame the president as the responsible party should the government run out of funds by the end of the week.
"If the White House rejects a sensible, one-week funding bill, they are significantly increasing the chances of the government shutdown that so many Washington Democrats are rooting for,” said a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Michael Steel. “And every soldier and senior who doesn't get a check next week will know who to blame."
UPDATE: Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told reporters Tuesday morning that House Democrats will oppose the GOP one-week offer and are whipping opposition to it.
Elise Foley contributed to this report.