Boehner: No short-term extension of current government funding levels – Washington Post

On February 17, 2011, in Latest News, by admin

As the House continues its marathon session of searching for spending cuts beyond the $61 billion already proposed by Republicans, Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said that he’s not certain when a final vote will be held. At the same time, Boehner rejected a short-term extension of the measure that currently funds the federal government at 2010 levels. “We’re going to do everything that we can to cut spending,” Boehner said Thursday morning at a Capitol news conference.

As the House continues its marathon session of searching for spending cuts beyond the $61 billion already proposed by Republicans, Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said that he’s not certain when a final vote will be held.

At the same time, Boehner rejected a short-term extension of the measure that currently funds the federal government at 2010 levels.

“We’re going to do everything that we can to cut spending,” Boehner said Thursday morning at a Capitol news conference. “We’re hopeful that the Senate will take up the House-passed bill that comes out of here today, tonight, tomorrow morning, whenever it is. … But I am not going to move any kind of short-term [funding resolution] at current levels. When we say we’re going to cut spending, read my lips: We’re going to cut spending.”

Both chambers are scrambling to reach a compromise before the measure funding the government expires on March 4. The House has yet to pass its final measure, which lawmakers debated until after 3 a.m. Thursday morning and are still working on. But Senate Democrats already have laid out their opposition to the deep cuts proposed by House Republicans, and President Obama has pledged to veto the cuts should they reach his desk.

With Congress out of session next week, legislators would have only a few days in early March to reconcile their vast differences on the measure, increasing the likelihood that Congress will pass an additional stop-gap funding measure of one to two weeksto bridge the gap. Boehner’s announcement means that any such measure will have to incorporate additional spending cuts.

At Thursday’s news conference, Boehner defended his statement earlier this week that if federal workers lose their jobs because of spending cuts, then “so be it.”

“Listen, I don’t want anyone to lose their job, whether they’re a federal employee or not,” Boehner said. “But come on! We’re broke. We’ve got to make tough decisions, and the American people sent their representatives here to Washington to make tough decisions on their behalf.”

Boehner also stressed the need for a “thoughtful, deliberate discussion” on entitlement reform, which House Republicans said they plan to tackle in their fiscal year 2012 budget, set to be released in April.

“We’ve got to lay out the problem so the American people understand clearly how big a problem is it,” Boehner said. “And once people understand how big the problem is, then and only then, should we begin to talk about an array of possible solutions.”

He added that he’s “made it clear” to Obama that he’s ready to work together on tackling runaway entitlement spending.

“I made it clear to the president: I’m ready to join him,” Boehner said. “I’m ready to have this conversation. I said it right to his face. …And I think the American people are ready for the conversation, as well.”

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