Republicans aren’t the only ones who might risk a government shutdown to get what they want.
President Barack Obama will not agree to a budget deal unless Republicans agree to spend more money, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated Tuesday.
With a government shutdown fight weeks away, the White House again is warning Republicans that a long-term budget agreement must lift spending caps for domestic spending set in 2011. Earnest was challenged whether the president is willing to shut down the government for more money. The answer appears to be yes.
Earnest added that he’s not sure Republicans would actually be able to put a long-term bill keeping the caps on the president’s desk. That means the president’s veto pen wouldn’t need to come into play.
The GOP has agreed to add $38 billion in defense spending to those caps but has expressed no interest in acceding to congressional Democrats’ interest in an additional $37 billion in domestic spending. Earnest said a bipartisan deal needs to be hashed out in Congress.
The overall increase wanted by the White House is about a 7 percent hike in discretionary spending after years of belt-tightening dating back to that 2011 deal.
Both sides, however, appear ready to go along with a short-term continuing resolution at existing spending levels. Earnest said there’s a distinction between a short-term bill to keep the government open and a long-term budget deal that would lock in sequester-level spending caps.
Republicans now have to hash out among themselves what to put into that bill, with conservatives wanting to challenge the White House on Planned Parenthood and other issues, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., already waving the white flag on that issue .