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Government shutdown? GOP, Democrats swap charges

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WASHINGTON – 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.

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