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WASHINGTON (AP) — In a deepening struggle over spending, Republicans and Democrats swapped charges Thursday over a possible government shutdown when money runs out March 4 for most federal agencies.
"Read my lips: We're going to cut spending," declared House Speaker John Boehner. He pledged that the GOP-controlled House would refuse to approve even a short-term measure at current funding levels to keep the government operating.
The Ohio Republican prefaced his remarks by accusing Democrats of risking a shutdown "rather than to cut spending and to follow the will of the American people."
But moments later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., retorted that Boehner was resorting "to threats of a shutdown without any negotiation." Officials added that Democrats would seek a short-term bill without any cut in spending levels, a position sharply at odds with Boehner's.
The sparring occurred as the House labored to complete work on veto-threatened legislation to cut more than $61 billion from the budget year that's more than a third over. That bill also would provide funding to keep the government operating until Sept. 30.
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