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House Moves Up Vote on Spending Bill as Snowstorm Bears Down on DC

Speaker of the House John BoehnerHouse Speaker John Boehner answers reporters’ questions after the weekly House Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol Tuesday. With the budget sequester now in effect, Boehner and his party in the House are now focused on fighting against new taxes and rolling back the federal budget. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Morning Line

“Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today,” Thomas Jefferson once wrote.

House Republicans will heed that 202-year-old bit of advice from the founding father and hold a vote Wednesday afternoon on their stopgap measure to keep the federal government funded past March 27. The legislation, which seeks to remove the prospect of a potentially calamitous government shutdown, locks in post-sequester spending levels, but includes protections for defense and veterans programs.

GOP leaders originally scheduled the vote for Thursday, but moved it up a day over concerns about the snowstorm that was expected to hit the Washington area on Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner expressed confidence Tuesday that the bill would pass.

“Spending is the problem here in Washington, and our goal is to cut spending — not to shut the government down,” Boehner told reporters. “The president agreed last week that that should be our goal and I’m hopeful that this continuing resolution will find easy passage both in the House and the Senate.”

House Democratic leaders signaled Tuesday that they would not launch a full-scale effort against the measure. “We’re not whipping at this point in time,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters. “We don’t want to shut down the government.”

The Obama administration, meanwhile, issued a statement that said it was “deeply concerned” about the impact of the GOP legislation, which funds the government for just six months, but did not threaten a presidential veto. It cited concerns about effects to consumer protections and health care services.

“The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to refine the legislation to address these concerns,” the statement said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said his chamber would attempt to move it’s own plan to fund the government next week. Reid added that he was “cautiously optimistic” about reaching a compromise in the coming weeks, but indicated Democrats would want to have a say in the composition of the continuing resolution, or CR. “I’m anxious to see what the House is going to pass with the CR. We have a pretty good idea now, but we’ll wait and see what the final product is,” Reid said.

“We believe, that this being a bicameral legislature, that we also have a right to have some appropriation bills and that we also have the right to have some anomalies. That’s what we’re going to be focusing on,” Reid added.

Which means, as is the case with most battles on Capitol Hill, the devil is in the details. With the consequences of failing to reach an agreement on funding the government far more immediate and wide-ranging than with the sequester, there will be added pressure on lawmakers to figure out a way to meet their next deadline.

On PBS NewsHour Tuesday, Ray Suarez talked Todd Zwillich of PRI’s “The Takeaway” about the continuing resolution and what’s next in the process.

Zwillich said he’s watching to see how many in the GOP’s rank-and-file join their leader to vote for this plan, or if it’s another measure that passes without a majority of the majority’s support: “There likely won’t be a majority of Republicans to prevent a government shutdown. John Boehner will have to rely on Nancy Pelosi to provide the votes.” (Roll Call reports Wednesday that Boehner privately told his caucus he won’t let this trend keep up. “[It’s] not a practice that I would expect to continue long term,” the speaker told reporters after meeting with members.)

Watch the segment here or below:


Judy Woodruff interviewed Virginia’s Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli about his book, “The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty.” The gubernatorial candidate outlined his philosophy for governing, including why he thinks the founding fathers got some things wrong. They discussed health care reform and his take on global warming.

On politics, Cuccinelli said he is in the “mainstream.”

Asked about Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s possible entry into the race as an “independent Republican,” Cucinelli closed on a note of compromise. “We have a lot to appeal to everyone with, and I have not met a human being yet that I don’t agree with on some things,” he said.

Watch the conversation here or below:

And watch the online portion of the conversation here or below:


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Katelyn Polantz and Simone Pathe contributed to this report.

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