The President struggle to control America's skyrocketing debt will take center stage in the House of Representatives Thursday as members vote on the fiscal year 2011 budget deal reached last week by President Barack Obama,, D-Nevada, and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.Top Democrats and Republicans have agreed to roughly $38 billion in spending cuts for the remainder the fiscal year, which ends September 30. Among other things, the package slashes funding from a wide range of domestic programs and services, including high-speed rail, emergency first responders, and the National Endowment for the Arts
Thursday's vote is a key test of Boehner's ability to keep his conservative Tea Party-infused caucus unified in the face of politically perilous tax and spending negotiations with the White House and Senate Democrats. It may also help measure the degree of liberal angst and anger over the impending spending reductions."House Democrats were not part of that agreement," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Thursday morning. "I feel no ownership" over the agreement, she said. Both the House and the Senate are expected to approve the deal by the end of Friday, when the federal government's current spending authorization expires. Negotiators narrowly avoided a partial government shutdown last week by agreeing to the deal and passing a short-term spending measure to give Congress time to review the agreement."No matter how we may disagree between parties, no matter how much we spend time debating the issues, at some point we're going to have to come together as Americans," Obama said Thursday.