The Republican majority House passed legislation on March 6 to soften the impact of the $85 billion in budget cuts and prevent a government shutdown.
According to Yahoo News, the bill cleared the House on a bipartisan vote of 267-151, will ensure the funding of the government through Sept. 30, which is the end of the budget year. It also grants the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs much more flexibility deciding where the sequester cuts will go. Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, told Yahoo News:
This is all about whether or not we shut down the government. This is a bill to keep the government operating.
House Democrats are torn between supporting the legislation to keep the lights on and their goal to replace half of the sequester cuts with increased revenue. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Yahoo News:
Instead of closing tax loopholes for corporate jets, they want to cut 4 million (people on) meals on wheels.
According to Yahoo, 53 Democrats crossed the isle to vote with the Republicans on the stopgap measure. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Democrats, Republicans and the White House are in negotiations to give the Department of Homeland Security and other government programs more flexibility on how to lessen the blow of the sequester.
President Obama has arranged a dinner with several Republican senators in the hope of bringing a bipartisan solution to cut the deficit which could include higher taxes as well as savings from Medicare and other government programs.