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Winning the future 3 weeks at a time: Obama endorses House spending bill with $6 billion in cuts

March 15, 2011 |  2:51 pm

Obama and Biden arrive at Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to Frank Buckles on the day of his burial there 3-15-11

The Obama White House on Tuesday endorsed the Republican House-passed federal spending extension bill and urged the Democratic-controlled Senate to pass it and avoid a federal government shutdown Friday.

"The short-term funding bill passed in the House of Representatives today gives Congress some breathing room to find consensus on a long-term measure that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year," spokesman Jay Carney said. "The President urges the Senate to pass this bill to avoid a government shutdown that would be harmful to our economic recovery."

The continuing resolution passed the House this morning, 271-58, after considerable discussion -- OK, argument -- behind closed GOP doors. Although the party is forcing budget cuts at the rate of $2 billion a week, or $286 million per day, a growing number of caucus members apparently feel that is insufficient and want to squeeze tighter.

As usual, the Senate is unhappy about all this, but will likely go along come Thursday.

No one appears appropriately embarrassed yet that the country's elected congressional representatives, earning $174,000 a year, didn't get around to passing a 2011 fiscal year budget in October when Democrats controlled both chambers.

Now that Republicans have House leverage, they can appear to be fulfilling their midterm campaign promise of fiscal probity. The fact that the cutting cycle has been repeating itself every couple of weeks allows that conservative drumbeat to resonate through the media over and over.

Carney reiterated: "We cannot keep funding the government in two- or three-week increments."

And yet, they do.

You see, there's another congressional recess scheduled to start Friday. And next week the president is off on a grand tour of South America. So the next government shutdown deadline will come just before the April 15 tax deadline for ordinary Americans.

Chances of any extension for those paying into the government would seem slim.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Obama and Biden greeted by Arlington National Cemetery officials while paying respects to Frank Buckles, the last known U.S. World War I veteran, on the day of his burial. Credit: Associated Press