Federal budget won't be ready by next Friday, GOP leader says (video)

House majority whip Kevin McCarthy says that Congress will likely need to pass another temporary spending measure by March 18 to avoid a federal government shutdown.

House majority whip Kevin McCarthy (R) of California said that Congress will likely need to pass another temporary measure to keep the federal government from shutting down. The current temporary funding measure, or continuing resolution (CR), covers two weeks of federal spending and expires March 18.

Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters, Congressman McCarthy said House Republicans could support a new temporary funding bill of as long as a month.

McCarthy blamed the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, for failing to act quickly enough to pass a budget before March 18. He pointed to comments by the No. 2-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois on "Fox News Sunday." Senator Durbin said Senate Democrats had pushed the deficit-cutting process “to the limit” with a plan to cut about $5 billion in domestic spending.

By contrast, the Republican-controlled House passed a measure to cut domestic spending in the current budget year by about $60 billion

“If I take what Durbin is saying and I look at the action of the Senate, we are going to hit the deadline because they haven’t acted,” McCarthy said Tuesday.

“Republicans will be prepared in the House to do another two, three, or four week CR but each time we are going to go at it, taking more bites, making sure we have cuts out there to make the economy stronger,” McCarthy added.

The current CR cuts $4 billion from the budget for the government fiscal year which ends Sept. 30.

McCarthy also singled out the vice president for "starting out negotiations and then leaving the country.” Vice President Joe Biden began budget negotiations with congressional leaders Thursday and then departed on a previously planned foreign trip, which currently has him in Russia.

The Senate is expected to vote this week on both the Senate Democratic budget plan and a measure embodying House Republicans' proposed budget cuts. Neither measure is expected to win enough votes for final passage. Then congressional leaders of both parties will be under pressure to find a compromise to prevent a government shutdown.

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