Boehner sets deadline for pension bill

Conference negotiations on the pension overhaul bill are progressing slowly, despite a new deadline of the July 4 recess, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters yesterday.

"We are not there yet," Boehner said at his weekly pen-and-pad briefing, hours before conferees met with House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). "If you all really will be kind," Boehner told the reporters in attendance, "you won't ask any more [questions]."

Boehner and Frist both called for House and Senate members to bridge the gaps between their versions of the pension bill, which would tighten rules governing company contributions to retirement funds, by the end of the month. But Boehner said "we will just keep trying" if that deadline, the latest in an informal series, is not met.