House Republicans can't get Senate Democrats to pass their budget for the rest of the fiscal year, which cuts $61 billion in federal spending. As it looks less and less likely that the parties will agree before the April 8 deadline, a shutdown of the government looms. But Republicans learned some lessons from the last shutdown showdown in 1995: the public blamed them, not President Clinton. So on Friday, the House will vote on the Government Shutdown Prevention Act, which would make their budget law of the land if it's not passed before April 6. Sort of. "Despite GOP claims to the contrary, the Government Shutdown Prevention Act would not become law unless the Senate also approves it and the president signs it into law, neither of which is expected to occur," Roll Call's Anna Palmer reports.
A spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Talking Points Memo's Brian Beutler that the GOP leadership hopes the legislation will inspire the Senate to pass a budget bill "so that we can work quickly to resolve any differences... If they... fail to act, passing this bill would at least keep the government open." Beutler describes the bill as "messaging legislation--to make House Republicans appear sincere in their desire to avoid a government shutdown, and putting pressure on Senate Democrats and the White House to act."
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's in talks with House Speaker John Boehner, Politico's Meredith Shiner reports, disputing Howard Dean's admission that if he were still head of the Democratic National Committee, he'd be "quietly rooting for" a shutdown. Republicans siezed on the comments---as well as Sen. Chuck Schumer's instructions to fellow Democrats to call GOP budget demands "extreme"--to argue that Democrats weren't negotiating in good faith.
It's just another day as the budget battle continues, folks.