By Russell Berman - 04/14/11 04:49 PM EDT
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he expected the 2011 spending deal he struck with President Obama to pass the House on Thursday, but he indicated it would need Democratic votes to advance.
“I expect this first step to pass,” Boehner told reporters Thursday when asked if he would have the 218 Republican votes needed to push it through the House. He noted later that it was “a bipartisan agreement” and that he expected it to pass with “a bipartisan majority.”
The Speaker has worked aggressively in the last 24 hours to tamp down opposition from conservatives amid reports that the $39.9 billion spending cut will have a negligible immediate impact on the federal deficit. Boehner appeared on Fox News on Wednesday night and joined conservative radio host Laura Ingraham Thursday morning.
“These are real cuts” was Boehner’s refrain, even as he offered a more tepid assessment of the overall legislation.
“This bill’s not perfect. It’s no cause for celebration,” the Speaker said at a press conference at the Capitol.
On Ingraham’s show, he said: “Not anybody worked harder to get every dime off of spending than I did. I understand people want more; I understand that people want a fight.”
“God bless the naysayers,” Boehner added. “But this is the best deal that we could get.”
The legislation will have to pass despite opposition from both conservatives and liberals. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) disavowed the deal earlier Thursday, saying she felt “no ownership” of it after House Democrats were excluded from the negotiations. She did not say how she would vote, holding out the possibility she would support the legislation if it appeared doomed to fail, which could result in a government shutdown.
The second-ranking House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), confirmed Thursday he would support the agreement, saying in a Twitter message that “we need to keep the government open, move on to other business.”