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House Bill Temporarily Averts Government Shutdown

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And as NPR's Ted Robbins reports, many Republicans, elected last November with Tea Party support, seem ready for a showdown.

TED ROBBINS: Freshman Republican David Schweikert of Arizona says if it isn't, he's willing to keep chipping away two weeks and $4 billion at a time.

DAVID SCHWEIKERT: Yeah, it's not a great way to run a government. It's absolutely silly. Particularly, you know, when you consider products and services that are purchased through the government, telling people it's only a two-week contract. But if the Senate can't get their act together, we just keep doing what we have to do.

ROBBINS: Schweikert says he'll cut government spending however he can. The promise of less government is what got him and other Tea Party Republicans elected. Schweikert even says he's even willing to sacrifice some of his own desires - repealing the Health Care law, defunding Planned Parenthood - if it means the Senate finds other places to cut.

SCHWEIKERT: We all have our certain ideological pitches of things we'd like to see, and see in or out of the spending. But it's the dollar amount that seems to be the driving passion. You know, I'm a social conservative, but it's that dollar amount right now, 'cause that's the moral imperative.

ROBBINS: Eventually, says House Republican freshman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, Defense spending, Medicare, Social Security, any program is worth scrutiny.

TREY GOWDY: Anything and everything that restores efficiency and, in my judgment, shrinks the size and scope of government to its appropriate bounds, is fair game.

ROBBINS: Another House freshman, Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado, says putting cuts on the table is a huge shift from previous years. He says his constituents want reduced spending, even if it means reduced services.

CORY GARDNER: When we talk about what's happening in this country, from the level of we have no money, many of these cuts were suggested by the president as well - that people are understanding. And nobody likes to see their program get cut, but they know it's better than a future of economic collapse as a result of our debt.

ROBBINS: Gardner is reluctant to compromise, and not just with Democrats in the Senate. He has a problem if House Republican leadership tries to compromise too much.

GARDNER: If leadership compromises away our spending cuts, then there's going to be an effort to make sure that leadership gets the message: that we're not going to stand for a slide away from spending cuts.

ROBBINS: President Obama suggested many of the $4 billion cuts in the two week bill, identifying that spending as wasteful; so it shouldn't be too tough a sell in the Senate. But Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said the president will try to convince the public of the need to compromise on further spending cuts.

HARRY REID: I think that we have to find agreement. I think the president feels that we have to find agreement. The president is going to take this to the American people, because the only message that we have from the Republicans is to wipe out programs that are so important to people; especially people who can't help themselves, the middle-class.

ROBBINS: Ted Robbins, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.