With a current stopgap spending measure due to expire on March 18, House Republicans on March 11 introduced a further, three-week extension that includes an additional $6 billion in spending cuts, including a proposal to zero out the General Services Administration's new construction account.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that Senate Democrats had agreed to the House GOP's proposal, and said that the cuts in the bill had been "already proposed by Democrats."
The new House GOP proposal, introduced by Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), would extend through April 8.
Its $6 billion in cuts includes $2.6 billion in earmarks, among which is all $894 million from the GSA's construction program plus $130 million from GSA's federal buildings repairs and alterations program. That would still leave $284 million in the repairs account.
A new appropriations extension became nearly inevitable when the Senate on March 9 defeated two dueling appropriations measures, both of which aimed to finance programs through Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2011.
First to be voted down was a measure that the Republican-controlled house passed in February that contained $61 billion in reductions. Then the Senate also rejected an alternative plan from Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) that had about $5 billion in cutbacks.