WASHINGTON -- With government funding set to expire in just two days, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that Republicans plan to move forward with a one-week stopgap funding bill that would include $12 billion in spending cuts -- even though the president has said he would reject such a plan.
While previous short-term funding bills have cut $2 billion from the budget per week, this bill would drastically increase that amount, slashing $12 billion over the same period of time. It would also approve funding for the Department of Defense until the end of the fiscal year.
"We're continuing to have conversations with our colleagues in the Senate," Boehner said. "But the government is due to shut down, so we are prepared to move forward with our troop funding bill. ... I think this is a responsible thing to do."
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that while he was willing to sign a two- or three-day funding bill to allow time for appropriate paperwork for a long-term deal to be filed, he would reject any other short-term measures.
Boehner argued that the short-term bill was necessary because of the president's lack of leadership in budget negotiations. He said he and House Republicans would continue to push for as many cuts -- and their corresponding policy riders -- as possible in the final long-term deal.
"The conversations are continuing," Boehner said. "Nothing is agreed to. I think we've made some progress, but we are not finished, not by a long shot."
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the majority whip, said the bill could be passed without the support of Democrats, despite the fact that Democrat votes were necessary for the last stopgap measure to pass the 218-vote majority threshold.
"We've had people fighting for our liberty and our freedom, do we not want to pay them?" he said. "If the Democrats do not want to join us, that's their choice."
Yet House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the bill "out of the question, going nowhere and a waste of time" during a Wednesday conference call with reporters.
"It's clearly not even a good-faith effort because it's obviously not something the president would agree to," she said.