From NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell and Carrie Dann
House and Senate leaders may have cooperated to avoid a government shutdown in the short term, but the cooperative spirit between the chambers’ top lawmakers didn’t have much of a cozy afterglow.
Shortly before a Senate vote on a two-week compromise bill to keep the government’s lights on, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid exchanged digs over a longer-term spending measure.
“I'm not sure whether Senator Reid has a plan to cut spending and keep the government running,” Boehner said at a meeting of the Credit Union National Association on Wednesday morning. “If he does, I think the American people would be interested in seeing it. If he doesn't, I think he owes the American people an explanation."
Last month, the House passed legislation to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year and make $61 billion in cuts to federal funding. The Senate has yet to act on that legislation or propose an alternative long-term spending bill.
A Reid spokesman fired back at Boehner's remarks. “That's tough talk from someone who is being bossed around by a bunch of freshman,” said spokesman Jon Summers, referring to the pressure some new Tea Party-affiliated House members have applied on their leadership to deepen the spending cuts even further.“It's surprising that the Speaker of the House is unaware that the Senate is voting on a bill to fund the government and cut spending this morning."
The two-week measure is expected to breeze to passage in the Senate this morning. It passed the House yesterday in a bipartisan vote that won the approval of over 100 Democrats and all but six Republicans.
*** UPDATE *** The Senate passed the short-term spending bill Wednesday morning by an overwhelming vote of 91-9. Voting no were four senators who caucus with Democrats (Sens. Tom Harkin, Patty Murray, Carl Levin, and Bernie Sanders) and five Republicans (Orrin Hatch, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Mike Crapo, and Jim Risch.)