Topics: House of Representatives

House Democrats willing to split difference on sequester cuts to avoid government shutdown

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Congress,House of Representatives,Nancy Pelosi,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Budgets and Deficits,Government Shutdown

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says her Democratic caucus is willing to meet Republicans halfway on the spending level of a short-term budget bill to keep the government funded past Monday.

House Republicans have capped federal spending in their budget bill at an annual rate of $986 billion, a figure that includes the sequestration funding cuts that were the result of an earlier bipartisan deal. Democrats have pushed to restore that funding, which would increase overall spending to $1.057 trillion.

But while Republicans, at least for now, have held fast to to their $986 billion demand, Pelosi said Friday that House Democrats would be willing to "split the difference."

"Democrats have been ready and willing to work with Republicans to pass a responsible balanced bipartisan bill," Pelosi said during her weekly briefing with reporters. "We'd like to go to a place like that."

She added her second-in-command, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, also backs such a plan.

The Republican-led House last week passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded into the new fiscal year, which begins Tuesday, that also includes a provision to eliminate funding for Obamacare. The Democratic-run Senate on Friday restored Affordable Care Act funding in the bill and send it back to the House.

But House GOP leaders have made it clear they're unlikely to approve the Senate version, despite the risk of federal agencies shutting down Tuesday without it.

Pelosi chided Republicans for failing to budge, saying that if Congress can't reach an agreement to avoid a government shutdown, the blame will fall on them.

"With only three days left, Republicans are threatening a shutdown," she said. "This is the most irresponsible way to negotiate a budget."

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