Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) speaks with Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray (D-WA) at a press conference to unveil an economic agenda that balances investments with deficit reduction in Washington on February 16, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch.. | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Senate Democrats, hoping to avert a possible U.S. government shutdown, have identified cuts to the 2011 spending bill they plan to propose to House Republicans.
An aide said Democrats will put the cuts into a proposed seven-month continuing resolution "in the spirit of trying to narrow the gap" between House GOP and Senate Democrats over the federal budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, The Hill reported Thursday.
The aide said $24.7 billion in cuts considered were ones proposed by President Obama in his 2012 budget request released last week. They also plan to propose eliminating $8.5 billion in earmarks included in the current continuing resolution for funding that expires March 4.
"We have said repeatedly that we are willing to negotiate cuts deeper than the $41 billion in cuts in the current CR (continuing resolution)," the aide told The Hill. "The Republicans so far have not expressed a similar willingness to move below their $100 billion. So we're taking the first step and preparing additional cuts beyond the $41 billion."
The Republican-controlled House voted to cut $61 billion from current spending through Sept. 30.
Democrats said they hope their seven-month continuing resolution proposal would be acceptable to Republicans so they will agree to extend funding at current levels for a short time so discussions can continue.
House Speaker John Boehner said any short-term funding bill would have to contain cuts. Other Republicans floated a two-week bill that would eliminate $4 billion in spending.
"It sounds like Senate Democrats are making progress towards our goal of cutting government spending to help the private sector create jobs," Boehner's office said in a statement. "Hopefully, that means they will support the short-term CR with spending cuts that we will pass next week, rather than shutting down the government."