At his weekly Capitol press conference Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he’s still pushing to maximize spending cuts and limitations. But he hopes to reach agreement with Senate Democrats and the White House before funding runs out on April 8 and the government shuts down.
That isn’t sitting well with conservative members and Tea Party activists. Now his message to them is mellowing a bit.
“We can’t impose our will on another body,” Boehner said. “We can’t impose our will on the Senate. All we can do is to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to and the spending limitations as well.”
That’s not to say he’s happy about having to cut a deal. Asked how willing he is to cut a middle path and pass a spending bill with a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, a resigned Boehner said simply, “not very interested.”
Boehner used similar rhetoric when he first realized he’d need Democratic votes to fund the government. When negotiations with Democrats broke down last week, he ditched the palliative tone. Now that they’ve resumed in earnest, he’s again acknowledging the need to compromise.
Sources close to the negotiations say that appropriations staffers in the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate are putting together separate spending packages that cut in the realm of $33 billion from current spending levels, and will merge them into a final budget. The final number may be a bit higher or lower, but will be significantly below the $61 billion in cuts conservative House Republicans want.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.