By Mike Lillis – 09/18/13 05:31 PM ET
House Democratic opposition to a short-term spending bill that continues sequestration is gaining steam, increasing the chances of a government shutdown.
President Obama has said he’s willing to negotiate with GOP leaders over the across-the-board cuts in an effort to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends.
But a growing number of Democrats say they’re ready to buck their president if he agrees to keep the automatic spending cuts as part of that agreement — even if it means shuttering the government.
“There may very well be a government shutdown,” Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said Wednesday. “But I say a government shutdown is better than reverting to long-term sequester-level funding.”
Moran acknowledged that his position sets him apart from Obama. “But,” he added, “some of us in the House, particularly those who have been here for a few years, are making it clear what we will or will not accept.
“We know what it’s going to mean to our districts … if this sequester becomes the new norm, and we’re not going to stand by and let that happen.”
Rep. Rosa DeLauro agreed. The Connecticut Democrat, who’s the ranking member of the Appropriation Committee’s labor, health and education subpanel, said the sequester threatens to slash the programs under her purview by more than 20 percent.
“I can’t, in good conscience, ratify something that’s going to be so devastating for so many people,” she said.
Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, say they’ll also vote against sequester-level funding if it reaches the floor. The two liberals were speaking only for themselves, and not for their groups, but many of their members are expected to follow suit.
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