Today the House will consider a short term continuing resolution to fund the government for the next three weeks. Democrats continue to call on Republicans to cut and compromise on a measure that funds the government for the full year so that we prevent a shutdown and stop funding the government in week-by-week increments, which is inefficient and disruptive to the private and public sector. Republicans have criticized short-term resolutions as well:
“I am really not warmed over to that, because if you continue to do that you continue to create a lot of uncertainty and unpredictability for the American people.” –Rep. Allen West [National Journal, 03/11/11]
“The fact is we can't subject our Nation's national security to a 2-week by 2-week process. It is not the way the Defense Department can function and this Nation can defend itself and its vital national security interests. We owe it to the men and women serving in harm's way as we speak.” –Senator John McCain [Congressional Record, 03/09/11]
“I really hope there’s not an endless [continuing resolution]. The reason for that is that the federal offices, the Defense Department, FBI and on and on, they can’t advance… So I’m going to push to get that resolved. ... We need a budget. We need this year’s piece done, so we can focus on 2012.” - Rep. James Lankford [Politico, 03/13/11]
So far, Republicans have not put forward a compromise measure and there are deep divisions within their own party. While some are calling for compromise, others refuse to move from their position:
“Freshman Rep. Michael Grimm on Monday slammed tea party activists and the ‘extreme wing of the Republican Party’ for mounting opposition to a stopgap spending measure. ‘If we’re going to do what we set out to do, we have to set realistic expectations, and cannot bow to the extreme right or left. Those views don’t represent what’s best for our country and they certainly do not represent the views of the majority of my district,’ he said in the statement.” [The Hill, 03/14/11]
“Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the head of the powerful conservative Republican Study Committee, will vote against the three-week House spending bill Tuesday…In a statement, Jordan indicated he was unhappy with the size of the cuts in the new measure, which would reduce spending this year by $6 billion and fund the government for three weeks.” [Roll Call, 03/15/11]
Democrats agree with Republicans that we must cut spending and have met Republicans halfway, but Republicans have not moved from their “So Be It” Spending Plan, which independent economists say will cost between 200,000 and 700,000 jobs. The Republican proposal mistakes cutting big for cutting smart and harms economic growth and national security by cutting critical investments.
The “So Be It” Spending Bill hampers our ability to build a competitive workforce and out-educate our competitors:
- More than 200,000 children would be kicked out of Head Start and thousands of teachers would lose their jobs
- Reduces maximum Pell Grant awards by $800 per student
The “So Be It” Spending Bill threatens our nation’s ability to remain the world leader in cutting-edge fields and out-innovate our competitors:
- 20,000 fewer researchers supported at the National Science Foundation
- $1.4 billion reduction in science and energy research to spur the innovations that will drive the clean energy economy of the future and create jobs.
- $1.6 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health, representing a significant setback in cancer and other disease research
The “So Be It” Spending Bill weakens infrastructure and our ability to out-build our competitors:
- Rescinds $2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects already awarded
- Loss of 25,000 new construction jobs and the cancellation of 76 projects in 40 states
- $234 million in cuts to improve our nation’s air traffic control system
The “So Be It” Spending Bill undermines national security:
- Results in almost 900 fewer Border Patrol agents, guaranteeing funding for only 20,500 agents
- Cuts funding for border security fencing, infrastructure, and technology by $272 million below FY 2010
- Cuts Homeland Security grants to train and equip first responders by $101 million, Port Security grants by $192 million or 67 percent and Transit Security grants by $177 million or 70 percent
Rather than working together to restore fiscal responsibility, Republicans have failed to address Americans’ top priorities: creating jobs and reducing the deficit. Compromise is the only way forward. Republicans must step up and put forward a compromise so that we can reduce spending while protecting critical investments that grow the economy, create jobs and strengthen national security.