By Molly K. Hooper - 04/01/11 06:31 PM EDT
Speaker John Boehner on Friday said shutting down the federal government would be more costly than keeping it running and his party is against a shutdown.
On the same day that President Obama warned that a government shutdown could jeopardize the economic recovery, Boehner said a shutdown would trigger immediate financial problems.
Negotiations are ongoing between Democratic and Republican leaders to strike a deal on a spending plan for the remaining six months of fiscal 2011, and Boehner insisted Friday that his side has not agreed to a deal.
Sources close to the talks, however, say both parties are working toward a target of cutting $33 billion in this year’s spending. Both Republicans and Democrats caution that no deal has been reached and a final agreement may hinge on the kinds of cuts in the package.
Obama, at an appearance in Landover, Md., on Friday, warned that a government shutdown would endanger the economic recovery evidenced by the improved jobs numbers for March.
"It appears that we're getting close to an agreement between leaders of both parties over how much spending we should cut," Obama said.
Boehner and other Republicans have sought to put the onus on the Senate, saying its failure to approve a spending bill for the year is hampering negotiations.
“We’re continuing to talk, but it’s time for the Senate to get serious,” Boehner said at Friday’s news conference.
If an agreement cannot be reached, a government shutdown could happen after next Friday. Only essential personnel would continue to work if the government does shut down.
Some government offices are considering worst-case scenarios, but Boehner said his office is not getting ready for a shutdown.
“I’m not preparing for a government shutdown,” Boehner said.
At least one GOP lawmaker is, however. Utah Republican lawmaker Rep. Rob Bishop (Utah) predicts that a deal won’t be struck before next Friday, which means some in his office may be taking “vacations” in the near future.
Boehner said that negotiators would continue meeting over the weekend , but the Speaker will not be in D.C. to partake in those conversations.
“I’m not going to be in D.C. this weekend. The appropriators are doing their job. Others are involved in other conversations, and I think we want to see how this weekend goes,” Boehner said.