Boehner: 'Senate must act' to pass its own spending bill

The Democratic-led Senate must pass its own bill to fund the government if it expects House Republicans to negotiate a final agreement on spending and budget cuts, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will say in a Wednesday speech.

"House Republicans are not going to negotiate with ourselves," Boehner will say in a speech before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, according to prepared remarks.

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Between now and April 8, the date when the government is slated to run out of money and faces a shutdown, the Senate must pass its own spending proposal if Democrats wish for negotiations to advance.

"The Senate must act," Boehner will say. "The Senate needs to do its job.”

House Republicans and Senate Democrats have engaged in a war of words over spending, and how to fund government the rest of this year. The two sides are locked in negotiations over the depth of the cuts between now and September.

Republicans in the House passed legislation to slash $61 billion from existing spending, $10 billion of which has already been achieved over short-term spending measures.

Democrats initially said they would agree to a spending freeze, but have since offered an additional $30 billion in cuts below that, a proposal they contend meets Republicans halfway.

But GOP leaders have long complained that because the Senate didn't lay down a marker by way of passing its own spending proposal, it was impossible to gauge where votes in that chamber line up.

Democrats did hold two test votes: on the House-passed Republican proposal and the spending freeze, both of which failed. Democratic defections on the spending freeze vote has Republicans optimistic, though, that they can pick up support for a more conservative proposal than Democratic leaders might prefer.

"The House passed a bill that cuts $61 billion from current spending levels — more than $100 billion compared to the levels in the president's last budget — and funds the government through September," Boehner will say. "This was our Pledge to America. The Senate, by contrast, has not passed any long-term bill. And this has made talks on a final bill very difficult."