Politics & Government

White House praises spending plan

Now that the mid-term elections are over, presidential candidates have their eyes on the prize - the White House
Now that the mid-term elections are over, presidential candidates have their eyes on the prize - the White House McClatchy

The White House praised the $1.1 trillion spending compromise that congressional leaders announced Tuesday night, but stopped short of saying whether President Barack Obama would sign the legislation.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the administration is “gratified” that lawmakers included money for some key national security priorities, including money to fight the Islamic State terrorist group, combat Ebola in West Africa and the United States and boost the middle class, including early childhood education programs.

Earnest also said the administration is pleased that Republican efforts to undermine Obama’s changes to the immigration system and to cut carbon pollution.

But Earnest said did not comment on any specific proposals to rollback for Dodd-Frank reforms, but said in general that they should not be included.

“I don't think the American people -- I don't think the vast majority of Democrats or even Republicans are gonna look too kindly on a Congress that's ready to go back and do -- start doing the bidding of Wall Street interests again,” he said. “So, again, that will be a decision that Republicans will have to make for themselves. But I think it's pretty clear where the President stands on that question. I also think it's pretty clear where the American people stand on that question, too.”

Earnest said the administration was involved in writing the spending plan, but is still reviewing all the deatils.

“This is a compromised proposal,” he said. “Democrats and Republicans have signed onto it, and we're gonna -- that's why we're gonna review,” he said. “I'm confident there are gonna be some things in here that -- that we're not gonna like. And so we'll have to sort of consider, you know, the whole package before we make a decision about whether or not to sign it. So we'll keep you posted on that.”

The agreement by Senate and House leaders would keep most of the federal government funded through September 2015 and avert a government shutdown this week.

The agreement comes after months of negotiation and days of last-minute wrangling over what would be included or attached to the so-called ‘cromnibus,’ a package of 11 spending bills and measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security only through February 27, 2015.

The bill adheres to spending levels capped by a two-year agreement hammered out in December 2013 by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The ‘ccromnibus’ provides $521 billion for defense and $492 for non-defense spending.

It also contains Overseas Contingency Operations funding to combat the threat posed by the Islamic State and $5.4 billion in emergency funding to deal with the Ebola crisis domestically and overseas.

Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers have expressed confidence that the massive spending bill will pass before the government runs out of money Thursday. But after the bill’s scheduled unveiling was delayed Monday, House officials began preparing contingency plans to avoid a repeat of last year’s 16-day partial government shutdown.

Earnest said the administration is pleased that Democrats and Republicans on the Hill do seem to be coming together around a proposal that will avoid a government shutdown.

“We've talked in the past about how a government shutdown is bad for the economy,” he said. “And particularly at this point where we are starting to see some headwinds from the global economy at the same time that the U.S. economy is demonstrating signs of real strength and resilience, the last thing that we need are additional headlines -- headwinds emanating from Capitol Hill. So we certainly are pleased that they seem to be coming around a proposal that would avoid exactly that.”