With just 24 legislative days remaining before Oct. 1, talks to resolve the disparities have not really begun, lawmakers said, putting Congress and the president on a collision course that could shut down the government after this fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
In the Senate, Republicans are circulating a letter to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, warning they will not approve any spending measure to keep the government operating after Sept. 30 if it devotes a penny to put in place Mr. Obama’s health care law. Signers so far include the No. 2 and No. 3 Republican senators, John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota, as well as one of the party’s rising stars, Marco Rubio of Florida.
Taken together, efforts in both chambers amount to some of the most serious cuts to domestic spending since the Republicans in 1995 tried to shutter the departments of Energy, Education and Commerce — and ended up shutting the government down for 28 days. “It’s about time we cut some spending around here,” said Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
“The Senate is still on a precarious path. The majority is pursuing a top-line discretionary spending level of $1.058 trillion for the fiscal year 2014. This exceeds the Budget Control Act level by over $90 billion.”
Senator Reid according The Hill, turned up the temperature of the budget debate Tuesday by declaring that he will oppose any stopgap measure to keep government operating beyond the end of September if it reflects spending levels set by the House GOP.