The Hill Blog: Rogers blasts Reid on spending bills, warns of shutdown crisis
Jul 11, 2012 -
by Erik Wasson
The House Republican in charge of annual spending bills on Wednesday blasted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for saying the full Senate will not take up any spending bills before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said the Senate is “defaulting on their most basic fiscal duty as representatives of the people of this country” and is risking a government shutdown crisis.
Reid on Tuesday publicly admitted that the Senate will not vote on any of the 12 appropriations bills that are being worked on in committee. He said he cannot move the bills because House Republicans are using a different top-line spending level than that agreed to in last August’s debt ceiling deal.
“Until the Republicans get real, we can't do that, because they have ... refused to adhere to the law that guides this country,” he said.
Rogers said Reid's move threatens a government shutdown crisis such as plagued the country in April 2011 when both parties wrangled over a funding bill. “The 12 annual Appropriations bills cannot be swept under the rug and ignored until a more convenient political time. They can, and must, be dealt with in a judicious and responsible manner – else the nation will once again face the economic danger and instability of threats of a government shutdown,” he said.
Rogers said that Reid’s claims that the House spending levels prevent action in the Senate are “absurd.”
“The House and the Senate are free to disagree, and frequently do, but that should not give cause for one whole legislative branch to act like impudent children, effectively ‘taking their ball and going home,’ ” he said.
The Hill reported early this month that behind the scenes Senate leadership had no intention to move the bills. Senate Republicans off the committee were already angered by the situation, arguing that skipping floor action robs the full Senate of influencing the spending process, which will be likely be resolved in a appropriations conference committee this fall.
The House Appropriations Committee has cleared 11 of the 12 annual spending bills, and the House has passed six. The White House has threatened to veto all of them.
The Senate is using the $1.047 trillion budget figure agreed to in August, while the House is using the $1.028 trillion figure in its budget. House Republicans say the August deal set a ceiling, not a floor on spending.
Democrats say changing the terms of the August deal will make it hard to strike bipartisan budget accords later this year, when the country faces a fiscal cliff of automatic cuts and tax increases.
The House and Senate need to agree at least on an extension of current spending before Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown.