House Republicans Said to Plan U.S. Budget Bill With Cuts

U.S. House leaders plan to take up a measure to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year that would reduce spending levels below $1 trillion, according to two Republican aides.

House leaders may advance a six-month stopgap funding measure as soon as the week of Feb. 25 when Congress returns after a one-week recess, according to the two Republican aides who asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been completed. Legislation passed last year, known as a continuing resolution, funds the government through March 27; the 2013 fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

“I know that there are discussions,” Representative Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, said after a press event today in Washington. “It’s because many of us believe that the sooner that happens the better.”

Price, the vice chairman of the House Budget Committee, said he wasn’t “privy” to any final decisions on a plan.

The plan is part of House Republicans’ strategy to negotiate spending cuts in fiscal discussions with President Barack Obama and the Democratic-led Senate.

The measure would fund the government through Sept. 30 at about $974 billion, below the current level of $1.043 trillion.

About $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts stemming from a 2011 agreement are scheduled to take effect March 1. Half of the cuts would come from the defense budget.

Lower Levels

The stopgap spending bill being considered would be at lower levels because House Republicans are working under the expectation that the automatic spending reductions, known as sequestration, will take effect.

House Republicans are seeking ways of “distributing” the cuts while keeping the reduced spending cap in the next budget measure, Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, said in an interview.

Congress passed a stopgap spending measure for the first six months of the 2013 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, because none of the annual appropriations bills that fund federal agencies were adopted.