Boehner has 'real doubts' about prospect for budget agreement

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) doubts that Congress will agree on a budget this year.

Boehner said on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” primetime talkshow that Senate Democrats are unlikely to negotiate on a budget resolution this spring after the House sends their yet-to-be-seen package to the upper chamber.

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“I’ve got real doubts whether we’ll ever come to an agreement with a Democrat-controlled Senate for a budget,” the top-ranking House Republican said Wednesday evening, acknowledging that the House budget will include cuts in entitlement spending such as Medicare and Social Security.

Boehner attacked President Obama for failing to produce a budget that tackled entitlement reform – and pledged that his party would not make the same misstep.

“If (Obama) won’t lead, we will … The greatest risk to our country is doing nothing, and that’s what the president has done,” he said, vowing that Republicans will “not go down that path.”

Conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity broached a variety of topics with Boehner including the current fight over government funding, additional security for members of the House and the situation in Egypt.

The Ohio lawmaker said that he aligns himself with the Tea Party and will continue to fight for major cuts in federal spending – discretionary and entitlements alike.

“I feel just as strongly about spending and debt and Obamacare as any tea partier in America,” Boehner said, adding that he “appreciates the energy they have brought to the electoral process.”

Hannity broached the debate unraveling on the House floor over a funding measure to keep the government operating through September, the end of the fiscal year.

House Republicans put forward a measure that would cut $100 billion from the president’s 2011 budget proposal ($61 billion in actual spending cuts from 2010 funding levels).

Hannity pressed Boehner on the likely impasse that faces Congress if the two chambers are unable to agree to funding levels before March 4, when the current temporary funding measure expires, which could lead to a government shutdown.

“The only people cheering for a government shutdown around here are Democrats, led by (Senate Democratic Leader) Harry Reid and (Senator) Chuck Schumer; there’s been no talk of shutting down the government on our side,” Boehner said.

“I don’t know how this is going to play out,” Boehner said, “other than we came here to cut spending and we’re going to cut spending.”

Boehner pledged that those cuts were the beginning of many to come, including additional steps to defund the president’s signature healthcare law.

“You are going to see us do everything we can from seeing (Obamacare from being) implemented,” Boehner promised.

Hannity also broached Boehner’s recent praise for the administration’s handling of the situation in Egypt.

The Speaker said that the political unrest in Egypt is a ”very complex” situation.

“We are not going to stand for radical ideologies taking control of a powerful ally,” Boehner said.

“There are other groups that will be organizing as well, getting ready for an election,” Boehner said, adding that the U.S. works with pro-democracy human rights organizations that he hopes will aid groups in Egypt.

Asked if he thinks that members of Congress need better security details in the wake of the tragic assassination attempt made on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (R-Ariz.) in Tucson, Boehner responded that the tragedy would have occurred regardless of whether Giffords had security in tow.

“Even if there had been a security detail there” it wouldn’t “have prevented what happened,” Boehner said, adding that his office has outlined “common-sense steps that members and their staff (can take to) increase their security … but I can tell you that freedom isn’t free, there is a risk – we are out in the public all the time.”