Boehner open to deal to ease spending ceilings

Boehner open to deal to ease spending ceilings
© Greg Nash

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE (R-Ohio) said Thursday he would welcome another spending agreement that would lift the sequestration budget ceilings set to return in October.

“If there's a way to reduce mandatory spending in a way that would provide relief to the sequester, like we did with the Ryan-Murray budget plan, have at it,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly press conference, referring to the agreement Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) struck in late 2013 that relieved sequestration ceilings for fiscal 2014 and 2015.

Boehner said it “could happen again” and acknowledged that in the meantime, the GOP-controlled Congress will have disagreements with the White House over spending.

“We'll work through the appropriation process and deal with those problems as they come up,” he said.

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The Ryan-Murray deal emerged in December 2013 after Congress allowed the government to shut down for 16 days.

Asked whether Boehner is open to getting a similar deal this summer, before the threat of another shutdown, he said, “Nobody's interested in shutting down the government. We're interested in real fiscal responsibility. And if — if such an effort is called for in a budget agreement and if such an effort can get off the ground, hope springs eternal.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Thursday he hopes a deal will emerge.

Boehner made the comments after appearing to endorse spending caps for next year during a recent interview with Fox Business.

Democrats, the White House and even some Republicans have called for increasing nondefense spending, as well, and negotiating a deal that would lift the caps.

During the Fox interview, Boehner said he wasn't sure Republicans would pursue that option.

“I don’t — we’re not — I’m not sure we’re going down that path,” he said. “I think there’s ample funds for the nondefense side of the budget. Defense is where the big needs are.”