House members warned on protests

In Washington, The House Sergeant at Arms is warning lawmakers to be prepared for possible budget protests at their district offices starting today.

According to a memo that is circulating on Capitol Hill, law enforcement coordinators for each member of Congress are instructed to contact local authorities "if they observe any suspicious activity or have safety concerns."

"It is important to note that there is no indication of violence in connection with these demonstration activities," said the memo signed by Sergeant at Arms Wilson Livingood.

"It is believed that the intention of these demonstrations is to raise awareness of budget issues," Livingood said.

Aides to Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., have seen the memo but were not aware of any planned rallies outside their Las Vegas offices, according to spokesmen. No groups in Nevada have announced rallies either for or against the controversial spending and spending cut bill that passed the House early Saturday.

With Congress on recess this week, most lawmakers are in their districts. But when they return they will have only a week, until March 4, to resolve a dispute over short term funding for the government, or risk a shutdown that both sides say they don’t want but so far don’t seem they will be able to prevent.

When we last left House and Senate leaders, they were far apart. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday he planned to introduce a one-month temporary spending bill, also known as a "continuing resolution," that would keep federal departments open at current spending levels while negotiations continued on a long-term funding bill.

House Speaker John Boehner plans to bring up a two-week spending bill that includes pro-rated budget cuts amounting to about $4 billion over the two weeks, according to various news outlets citing House sources. Reid already has rejected it as no compromise.

Boehner’s pro-rated numbers would be based on the $61 billion in budget cuts the House approved in a spending bill that covers until Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2011.

The spending bill passed 235-189 early Saturday. All but three Republicans voted for it, while all Democrats present voted against it, charging the cuts were knee-jerk and too deep. Nevada’s lawmakers split, with Heck and fellow Republican Dean Heller voting for it and Berkley voting against it.

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