A government shutdown looks like a strong possibility again as House Republicans prepare to reject a White House budget offer to cut over $30 billion in current spending. In a strange twist, Republicans seem to object to a Democratic proposal to cut mandatory spending programs, including entitlement programs, preferring the $30 billion to come entirely from non-defense discretionary spending, a smaller subset of the budget. "This debate has always been about discretionary spending—not autopilot 'mandatory' spending or tax hikes,” says a Republican aide. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid blames Tea Party lawmakers for derailing negotiations, saying, "The biggest gap in this negotiation isn't between Republicans and Democrats—it's between Republicans and Republicans.” The government will shut down if the two sides can’t agree to another funding bill by April 8.
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