ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
The House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon passed the three-week spending bill to keep the government open through April 8 by a count of 271-158, but with dozens of Republicans rejecting the latest stop-gap measure, the pressure is rising on Congressional leaders to reach a compromise to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.
While the last short-term spending bill received nearly unanimous support from the Republican Conference on March 1 (only six opposed), 54 House Republicans, including 22 GOP freshmen, peeled off in opposition to the latest short-term bill, with many conservatives taking a stand against funding the government on an incremental basis. Without support from 85 House Democrats, the bill could have failed.
"My 'No' vote should not be construed as my willingness for a 'government shutdown.' My vote is based on a simple principle that we need to complete the federal budget for 2011," Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., said in a statement explaining his opposition to the bill. "We cannot wait any longer. The time has come to have this debate on federal spending and get our nation back on track by cutting spending for the long term economic restoration of our Republic."
House Speaker John Boehner reacted to the vote, calling it “another step forward in [the House’s] commitment to cutting spending to help end the uncertainty facing job creators” and once again called on Washington Democrats to come up with a counter-offer to the GOP’s spending cuts proposals.
“Enactment of this short-term measure would mean $10 billion in cuts in just five weeks, which is $10 billion more than the Democrats who run Washington originally suggested. But if we’re serious about ending uncertainty for small businesses and helping them get back to creating jobs, we need to cut a lot more,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “It’s up to the Senate and the White House to offer a credible plan to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year while delivering the spending cuts Americans are demanding."
This spending bill includes $6 billion worth of cuts compared to 2010 spending levels, cutting 25 programs for a savings of $3.5 billion and eliminating $2.6 billion in earmarks that were automatically renewed in the CR approved by the Democratic-controlled Congress last December.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated it has enough support to pass ahead of Friday’s deadline to avoid a government shutdown.