House Speaker John Boehner said Saturday that no compromise has been reached with Democratic leaders on the federal budget for the remainder of 2011 but that it was time for Congress to "get moving."
"Let me be clear, there is no agreement," Boehner said in his party’s weekly address. "Republicans continue to fight for the largest spending cuts possible to help end Washington’s job-crushing spending binge."
But Boehner also signaled that, with less than a week to go before a possible government shutdown, the time has come to move to the next battlefield in the spending wars.
Both parties have been deadlocked over the depth of spending cuts and as a result have been unable to agree on a budget for the current fiscal year. Congress has instead passed short-term funding bills, the latest of which expires on April 8.
Some Republicans have signaled a willingness to compromise on the 2011 budget, but others have insisted that no compromise be made with Democrats, even if it means shutting down the government.
Boehner listed budget issues which are “bigger challenges” and are notably not covered in fiscal 2011 debates: “the $1.5 trillion tax hike the president has called for in his budget for next year” and a looming vote to increase to the debt ceiling.
In the address, Boehner repeatedly stressed that jobs were the reason Republicans want to cut spending and uncertainty about the federal budget is hindering job growth.
Boehner said this uncertainty is giving the business community the sense that Washington has yet to be cured of its "spending illness."
"It’s discouraging investment in small businesses, and eroding confidence in our economy," he said. "To put it simply, the spending binge in Washington is holding our country back and keeping our economy from creating jobs."
The speaker said some "early progress" had been made to trim the federal budget. There was $10 billion already cut by two short-term continuing resolutions enacted this month, but Boehner said that was "nowhere near enough."
Boehner made similar remarks Thursday at a news conference, where he said lawmakers remain divided over controversial provisions demanded by the GOP that would defund the new healthcare law, Planned Parenthood and other White House policy objectives.