House passes measure to keep government open another week

Despite a veto threat from President Obama, the House of Representatives passed a spending measure Thursday that would fund the Department of Defense through September and also keep the government open for an additional week.

Though there is broad agreement on the terms of the defense authorization bill, Democrats object to $12 billion in budget cuts that the measure calls for in the seven-day extension of funding for other areas of the government. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called instead for a one-week extension at existing spending levels.

The House vote on the GOP proposal passed 247-181, largely along party lines.

The Democratic-led Senate is unlikely even to consider the legislation, but the White House nonetheless issued a veto threat Thursday afternoon before the House vote.


“This bill is a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise for funding the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and avert a disruptive Federal Government shutdown that would put the Nation’s economic recovery in jeopardy,” the White House said.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said that a vote against the bill was a vote “against the troops.” Republican leaders howled at the announcement from the administration.

“Neither the President nor Senate Democrats have identified a single policy provision they find objectionable in the bill,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “The bill … would fund our troops through September in the face of three conflicts and keep the government from shutting down tomorrow, while reflecting meaningful reductions in government spending that are widely accepted by both chambers of Congress.”

After yet another White House meeting Thursday afternoon, Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that an impasse remained. They will return again Thursday evening, with a Friday deadline looming.


At the White House, Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients, who is charged with overseeing a government shutdown, said federal workers will receive formal guidance Thursday afternoon for what a funding lapse would mean. He also warned that even a brief shutdown could have a “significant” effect on the economy.