Boehner: No resolution on spending bill

Greg Nash

Republican leaders have failed to settle on an alternative plan to keep the government running after Sept. 30, Speaker John Boehner said Thursday, a day after conservative opposition forced him to delay a vote on their original proposal.

“There are a lot of discussions going on about how to deal with the [continuing resolution] and the issue of ObamaCare, so we’re continuing to work with our members,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a Capitol press conference.

Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Tuesday presented a plan to their members in which they would pass a stopgap spending bill while forcing the Senate to vote on a measure to defund President Obama’s healthcare law. But conservatives decried the idea as “gimmick” and are demanding the leadership take a harder line.

The Speaker suggested the leadership’s proposal was still viable. When a reporter mentioned that Republicans had rejected the plan, Boehner interjected, “Not quite yet.”

But he made clear that it may be revised before it comes to the House floor.

“There are a million options that are being discussed by a lot of people,” Boehner said. “When we have something to report, we’ll let you know.”

A number of conservatives are pressing party leaders to require a one-year delay of ObamaCare in exchange for a continuing resolution, but Boehner would not comment directly on the idea.

Parts of the federal government will shut down absent legislation by Sept. 30.

“I’m well aware of the deadlines,” Boehner said. “So are my colleagues. And so we’re working with our colleagues to work our way through these issues. I think there’s a way to get there.”

Earlier Thursday, Cantor told members that a scheduled recess for the last week of September might be cancelled without a resolution to avert a government shutdown.

Boehner met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss the looming fiscal fights, but there was no apparent resolution at the meeting.

The Speaker said he told the Democrats and, in a separate meeting Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, that Republicans would insist on spending cuts or reforms in exchange for raising the debt ceiling by next month.

“We have a spending problem. It must be addressed. Period,” Boehner said.