House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday urged members to vote for the fiscal year 2011 spending agreement, saying that while the deal is not perfect, it's a good result given the two parties' deep divide over what they think should be the size of government.
"Is it perfect? No. I'd be the first one to admit that it's flawed," Boehner said. "Well, welcome to divided government."
The Speaker also rejected Democratic assertions that the budget does not cut that much, and dismissed press stories that quote the Congressional Budget Office as saying the bill would cut only a few hundred million by the end of the fiscal year in September.
"I just think it's total nonsense," he said of those stories. "A cut is a cut. The final agreement cuts nearly $40 billion dollars in budget authority, taking away the license to spend the money, which will result in a deficit savings of an estimated $315 billion over the next decade."
The House began debate on the FY 2011 spending bill shortly after 1 p.m., and a House vote is expected by 2:30 p.m. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) also praised the bill as an historic reduction in the size of government.
"For those who have been saying in their career here in this body, 'I came here to cut spending, and to bring down the size of the government,' I say to them, here's your chance," he said. "If you believe in cutting spending, you can vote for $40 billion of it today, the largest any member of Congress has ever been able to vote for."
Some Democrats also signaled support for the deal. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) noted that compromises were reached in the budget deal in a range of areas, including environment and healthcare, and called on members not to reject it because it is not perfect.
"This continuing resolution is the epitome of compromise," he said. "This is not the time to let the perfect be the enemy of the good."