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House Republicans Drafting Two-Week Continuing Resolution With About $4B In Spending Cuts

In an effort to avoid a government shutdown, House Republicans are drafting a new continuing resolution (CR) that will include some cuts to the federal budget, Republican leadership aides said on Wednesday, Roll Call reports (Stanton, 2/23). “The measure will contain about $4 billion in spending cuts and will merge cuts approved last week by the House and several taken from President Obama’s list of program terminations and savings,” National Journal writes. “The CR would extend government financing for two weeks” and the cuts “would be prorated to reflect” the reductions that were approved in last week’s CR. “In other words, the $4 billion in savings would be roughly equal to the cuts the CR called for if carried out for just two weeks,” the publication notes.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) “has already begun drafting the CR, though a final determination on the precise amount of spending cuts and which programs will be targeted has not been made, several House GOP sources said. Republicans plan to vote on the measure next Tuesday or Wednesday,” National Journal reports (Garrett, 2/23).  

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wasted no time rejecting the plan Wednesday,” according to The Hill’s “On The Money” blog. “The Republicans’ so-called compromise is nothing more than the same extreme package the House already handed the Senate, just with a different bow,” Jon Summers, a spokesperson for Reid, said (Needham, 2/23). “Reid has demanded that the short-term bill extend spending at current levels, which Democrats have insisted would represent a significant cut below President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget request. Republicans have rejected that proposal out of hand, insisting that any CR must include reductions below existing funding levels,” Roll Call writes (2/23).

Restore U.S. Funding For Humanitarian Aid, Letter To House Republican Leaders Says

Leaders from 29 international aid groups sent a letter to House GOP leaders “urging them to restore funding” for humanitarian causes, The Hill’s “On The Money” blog reports in another post. “The letter sent Tuesday night kicks off a lobbying campaign by the groups to head off the cuts, which are part of the $61 billion in cuts Republicans are seeking this year,” the blog writes, adding that the groups “call the cuts devastating and say they will hurt America’s reputation.” According to the letter, the House bill “would imperil the longstanding U.S. commitment to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance for those threatened by disaster and conflict.”

The groups say the bill reduces global disaster aid by 67 percent, refugee assistance by 45 percent and global food relief by 41 percent compared with 2010 levels (Wasson, 2/23). “It is shocking to imagine that in the next major global humanitarian crisis – the next Haiti, Tsunami, or Darfur – the United States might simply fail to show up. Yet that is the very real risk posed by [the House bill],” the letter states. It also lists the ways the spending cuts could “potentially cost many lives.” The full list of signatories are listed (2/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.