WASHINGTON — Siding with congressional Republicans, the White House voiced general approval Monday for a short-term bill that makes immediate cuts in federal spending while preventing a threatened government shutdown.
"We're pleased that there seems to be some progress, and we think we're moving in the right direction,"' press secretary Jay Carney said of a bill that Republicans intend to pass in the House today.
Carney stressed that President Barack Obama opposes a shutdown, a position that lawmakers in both parties also have taken. His remarks were the latest indication that Congress will ensure that funds don't run out on Friday.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California has criticized the Republican bill, which would cut $4 billion while keeping the government funded through March 18. That would give lawmakers two weeks to try to negotiate a broader plan to finance the government at reduced levels through Sept. 30.
In the Senate, Democratic officials stressed last week that Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and other members of the leadership oppose using a short-term bill to make any cuts in spending.
The cuts proposed by Republicans would come from programs the White House recommended be reduced or terminated in the 2012 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, and from funds set aside for earmarks.