Republicans offered a $4 billion, two-week stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown, as NBC’s Luke Russert reported yesterday. But Democrats are not warm to the idea. A Senate Democratic leadership aide tells First Read, “This is not going to draw the votes from Democrats that they hope, certainly not enough to get 60. It’s their same bill, in disguise as a prorated version. They are just trying to throw different versions of the same proposal out there so they can look like they are making repeated attempts to avoid a shutdown. But privately they are signaling they will not go below the 61 billion, even it comes to a shutdown.”
Why are they rejecting it? As NBC’s Ken Strickland reports, “[T]he $4-billion two-week short term fix is equal to a pro-rated amount of the $61-billion worth of spending cuts in the long-term Continuing Resolution the House passed last week. In other words, if you divided $61-billion into the remaining weeks of the fiscal year, it would be about $2 billion per week. For two weeks--the likely length of the short term stopgap bill -- that would be $4 billion.”
The Boston Globe affirms that: “The $4 billion figure is roughly equal to the pace of cuts in a bigger bill passed by Republicans last week that slashes $61 billion from the budget over the remaining seven months of the fiscal year.”
Here’s Majority Leader Harry Reid’s statement: "The Republicans' so-called compromise is nothing more than the same extreme package the House already handed the Senate, just with a different bow. This isn't a compromise, it's a hardening of their original position. This bill would simply be a two-week version of the reckless measure the House passed last weekend. It would impose the same spending levels in the short term as their initial proposal does in the long term, and it isn't going to fool anyone. Both proposals are non-starters in the Senate.
Yet Republicans believe Democrats should and will accept it. Roll Call: “The goal, aides said, was to craft a bill that makes enough cuts to appease conservatives but cherry-picks reductions that Democrats and Republicans already support to make it palatable to the minority and the White House. That, Republicans hope, will put enough pressure on Senate Democratic moderates that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be forced to accept the bill. The reductions will be ‘things [Democrats] identified they’re willing to cut,’ a GOP leadership aide said.” (Though the proposed cuts haven’t been publicly itemized.)
Since members of Congress love polls… The Hill writes, “A USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 60 percent want Republicans and Democrats to ‘agree to a compromise budget plan, even if that means they pass a budget you disagree with.’ Thirty-two percent want lawmakers to ‘hold out out for the basic budget plan they want, even if that means the government shuts down.’”
An “analysis released by Goldman Sachs' forecaster Alec Phillips on Wednesday that said the GOP spending plan for $61 billion in spending cuts could reduce Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth by 1.5 to 2 percentage points later this year,” The Hill writes. Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer capitalized: "This analysis puts a dagger through the heart of their ‘cut-and-grow’ fantasy," said Schumer. "We need to reduce the deficit, but we must do it by striking the right balance between cutting spending and growing the economy," he said. Republicans, though, dug in. "We don't need more ineffective 'stimulus' spending — we need to get our economy growing again and help the private sector create jobs," Michael Steel said in a statement.