House Spending Bill May Lead to Gov't Shutdown

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The showdown over the federal budget has begun in Washington, D.C. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill over the weekend that includes deep cuts to this year's federal budget.

Now the measure's fate will be decided by the Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate. If the two sides can't agree, there could be a government shutdown.

CBN News Political Correspondent John Jessup talked more about the possible shutdown on the CBN News Channel's Midday News, Feb. 21. Click here to watch.

The public relations campaign will be in full force this week with Republicans eager to show voters they have the message.

"Read my lips -- we are going to cut spending," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Democrats are chomping at the bit to paint the Republicans' $61 billion in proposed cuts as being "out of touch."

"Are we going to take a weed whacker to education funding in this country while we let millionaires continue to deduct interest on their second home?" asked Sen. Claire McCaskill. "That doesn't seem to be the right priority."

The spending bill passed the Republican-controlled House along party lines early Saturday morning. It now goes to the Senate, where it will face major opposition from Democrats.

"If I have anything to fault with the House approach to it, I think they went too far in their cuts," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

The measure aims to trim the fat and shrink the size of the federal government, including cuts to:

  • The Corporation of Public Broadcasting
  • National Public Radio
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Healthcare reform
  • Planned Parenthood

"Why on earth are we given $363 million in taxpayer funds every year to Planned Parenthood?" said Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.

Pro-life advocates said political pressure will be on the Senate to follow the same course.

"This may be a several step process that even if we don't win this time, we need to come back again and continue our efforts to de-fund the largest abortion provider in the United States," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

Democrats have seized on Republican-proposed cuts to the Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol and have already labeled them as "simply dangerous."

With such big differences in what to cut -- and a veto threat from the White House -- many lawmakers have also been concerned about a possible government shut down.

"It's good for political rhetoric to talk about a government shutdown," said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "But I don't know anybody that wants that to happen."

It's a race against the clock. Lawmakers are back in their home districts all this week, which leaves only a few days for the House and Senate to reach a deal before government funding runs dry on March 4.

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John Jessup

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John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at Facebook.com/John.V.Jessup.