WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) -- House Republicans Monday put forth a bill they said would soften some of the sequester cuts and avoid a government shutdown later this month.
The omnibus government spending bill runs through the end of September and doesn't directly repeal any of the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts ordered last week. It does, however, move cash into several budget lines in the Pentagon and adds $2 billion to the State Department budget for embassy security, Politico said.
It also adds $344 million to the Department of Homeland Security's budget for border security.
Overall, it sets federal spending levels below even the spending plan put forth last year by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said her committee would move quickly to draft and pass its own version of spending legislation ahead of a March 27 deadline, The Hill said. That's when the current Continuing Resolution authorizing all federal spending expires. Absent a new deal of some sort, the federal government would shut down thereafter.
Mikulski said she will seek to expand funding in areas Democrats prize, including the pre-kindergarten program Head Start.
In question is whether she has been out-maneuvered by House Republicans. Many of the changes they made in their spending bill were on the list of demands from Senate Republicans that Democrats had intended to use as bargaining chips, Politico said.