Tuesday afternoon the House passed by a vote of 335 to 91 House Joint Resolution 44, which extends government funding for two weeks, until March 18. Before the vote, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration is "pleased" with progress on Capitol Hill toward a stopgap measure, but does not want that to become a precedent for more temporary measures. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicts the House's Continuing Resolution will pass in the Senate.
The House plan would cut $1.24 billion in funding by terminating programs President Obama has proposed eliminating in his 2012 budget request. The bill would find additional savings totaling $2.7 billion by defunding earmarks.
Democrats are warning of an economic collapse if the two sides can't reach an agreement. Republicans expect a meltdown if America cannot reduce its debt.
The House's newly passed Continuing Resolution is finding favor among Senate Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D Nev., has filed for cloture on a motion to proceed to a bill that would repeal public financing of presidential campaigns. The measure is expected to serve as the legislative vehicle for a new stopgap funding bill that has yet to be unveiled. Reid favors a bill that would hold current funding steady. Still, some rank-and-file Senate Democrats may push for a one-month extension of funding, rather than the two weeks in the House bill.
Senate Democrats are expected to begin building the case for a long-term measure with fewer cuts than the House bill. That bill, passed on Feb. 19, would cut more than $60 billion compared with fiscal 2010 levels. House and Senate Republicans continue to increase pressure on Senate Democrats to support the House bill.