President Barack Obama held a budget summit Tuesday morning at the White House, meeting with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The issue at hand is the remainder of the 2011 federal budget, the fiscal year of which ends on September 30, and how much in the way of spending cuts will be agreed upon. The summit ended in failure, leading to a growing possibility of a federal government shutdown this Friday.
The 2011 budget was supposed to have been submitted by the 111th Congress on April 15th, 2010, but Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats punted as to avoid any controversy during an election year. They still lost control of the House of Representatives anyway. In the meanwhile, the government has been funded by a series of continuing resolutions. The last two of which the House GOP members used to cut a measly $12 Billion dollars out of some $3.3 Trillion dollars to be spent this fiscal year.
With the clock ticking, another continuing resolution, this one for only one additional week with another $12 Billion in spending cuts is being considered. But due to a 72-hour rule in the House, such a bill would have to be submitted quickly before noon Wednesday to avert a government shutdown. Even then, if such legislation was to go through, it would not be voted on by the Senate until Saturday at the earliest.
Some 45 days ago, the House GOP passed a budget for the rest of 2011 that would include some $73 Billion dollars in spending cuts, roughly 2.8% of the remaining operating costs through September. But Harry Reid is blocking the bill, calling it too extreme and draconian. Senate Democrats launched a bash-the-Tea-Party campaign last week, in efforts to force John Boehner to compromise. At first, Senate Democrats countered the House Republican budget with one that only had some $8 Billion is spending cuts. Their last offer allegedly has about $33 Billion, but many question the math.
President Barack Obama, who has only become engaged in the budget issue this past weekend, says that he will not go along with any more continuing resolutions. John Boehner and Harry Reid met later Tuesday after the failed White House summit to continue negotiating the size of the spending cuts. But if an actual bill is not submitted to the House floor by tomorrow, then a government shutdown will happen after Friday, unless, of course, the Senate Democrats finally agree to the budget already passed by House Republicans 45 days ago.