The House of Representatives on Saturday morning approved legislation for a budget cut of about $61 billion in federal spending through September, a plan ready to be challenged in its current form by President Obama and Democrats in the Senate. The bill slashes cash going to coal companies, oil refiners, farmers, health-care reform, and other domestic programs. Obama has outlined his own plan for less severe spending cuts in 2012.
House Speaker John Boehner said the legislation was part of Republican efforts "to liberate our economy from the shackles of out-of-control spending." Nancy Pelosi doesn't quite see it that way: "They have made matters worse. Passing a spending bill that destroys jobs, weakens the middle class, hurts schools and young adults, eliminates assistance to homeless veterans, and diminishes critical investments in our future." The Republican-backed bill sets up the possibility of government shutdowns if a compromise is not worked out by March 4, when current funding expires.