While the GOP preps House members with guidance in the event of a government shutdown, they're also readying a one-week stop-gap funding bill, including $12 billion in domestic discretionary cuts, and six month's worth of Pentagon funding.
The purpose is simple. If negotiations over a six-month spending package don't yield an agreement in the next day or two, the Congress will be armed with the proper protocols for operating during shutdown. But the House of Representatives will also pass a politically tough temporary funding package -- with cuts too deep for many Democrats to accept -- and leave the question of a shutdown in their hand. If the Senate can pass it, and the President signs it, it buys congressional leaders and the White House another week to hash out a longer plan -- but at the cost of steep, steep cuts. On an annualized basis, it would amount to well over half a trillion dollars.
Both the White House and the Senate Democrats have indicated that their patience with short term measures has run out. Indeed, Republicans have publicly insisted they oppose further stopgaps, suggesting this is a strong-arm negotiating tactic. If they stick to their guns and let this measure fail, House Republicans will lay the shutdown at their feet. Democratic leaders have yet to respond to this development.