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Administration Says CR ‘Moving in Right Direction’

The White House signaled support for House Republicans’ two-week continuing resolution Monday but warned Congress against making a habit of passing short-term spending measures.

“We are pleased that there seems to be some progress and that we are moving in the right direction,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during a briefing.

Negotiations are still taking place on the GOP’s proposed stopgap spending bill, which would keep the government funded for two weeks past Friday, when the current continuing resolution expires. The measure lays out $4 billion in cuts; $2.7 billion are from slashed earmarks and $1.2 billion reflect cuts in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget request.

Carney said that while the administration is largely leaving it to Congress to reach agreement on keeping the government funded, he cautioned that the practice of passing short-term continuing resolutions creates economic certainty.

“Repeated cycles of debate on CRs” are not helpful, he said.

But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is already hinting that he likes the idea of passing short-term spending measures as a way to force Democrats to vote for GOP priorities.

“If they won’t eat the whole loaf at one time, we’ll make them eat it one slice at a time,” he said Sunday during remarks at a National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville.

It remains to be seen how involved the White House will be in ensuring the government is funded for the rest of the year while averting a government shutdown. For now, Hill aides in both parties say the administration is playing next to no role in talks, other than being kept in the loop on developments via Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

The White House “is not very involved. Up until now, it seems like not at all,” said one senior Democratic aide.

“Right now they seem to only care about the two weeks being too short.”

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