Hoyer: Dems will agree to some cuts

Congressional Democrats probably will agree to cut spending by March 4 to keep the federal government from shutting down, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said Wednesday.

"I think we're going to need to do some cuts," Hoyer said in an interview with The Inquirer's Editorial Board. Hoyer wasn't specific, but said Democrats would draw the line at "cuts which will undermine the government's ability to perform essential functions and protect the most vulnerable" citizens. 

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer.

That’s certainly a better starting point than the Republicans’ apparent slash-and-burn approach.

Congress needs to approve a temporary spending bill by next Friday to avoid a government shutdown. That hasn't happened since 1995-96.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has proposed a measure that would keep the federal government operating for one month at current spending levels. But House Republicans are insisting on some spending cuts.

The House last week approved about $60 billion in cuts for the currrent budget year, but the Democrat-led Senate hasn't acted on the measure . Hoyer, who was in Congress during the Newt Gingrich-led shutdown 16 years ago, said the new contingent of House Republicans is "more ideologically driven" than their counterparts of the mid-1990s.

GOP leaders say Democrats are to blame for any talk of a shutdown.