Hoyer could consider government funding bill that keeps sequester

“I don't like it,” Hoyer told reporters in the Capitol, referring to the post-sequester 2013 level. “[But] current levels can be defined a number of different ways, obviously, and 988 is a higher number, as I said, than the 967, by $21 billion.

“That is better, not because it's simply more money, but because it's a more sustainable figure,” Hoyer added. “That's the confusion here: There're a number of figures out there, and everybody is choosing the figure they like.”

With the government's spending authority inching closer to the Sept. 30 deadline, Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner4 reasons Mike Pompeo will succeed at Foggy Bottom The misunderstood reason Congress can’t get its job done GOP sees McCarthy moving up — if GOP loses the House MORE (R-Ohio) is facing increasing pressure from conservatives on and off Capitol Hill to insist on the $967 billion cap for 2014, even if it means shutting down the federal government.

Complicating the debate, conservatives in both chambers are also pressuring GOP leaders to oppose any new spending bill that includes funding for Obama's healthcare reform law.

Meanwhile, Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.), head of the Appropriations Committee, is pushing a 2014 spending cap of $1.058 trillion.

Hoyer said Tuesday that he'll fight for the higher figure but also acknowledged that, with Republicans controlling the House, Democrats won't get everything they want.

“You know, we're $91 billion apart. Let us say for the sake of argument that you split the difference. That would certainly be, you know, a discussion that we could have,” he said. “But the fiscal year '13 [cap] that we all budgeted for presumably was pre-sequester, not post-sequester.

“We're going to have to come to some sort of agreement,” he added, “[but] we have not been very encouraged by the willingness of the Republicans to go to conference.”

Hoyer also urged House lawmakers to remain in Washington in September as long as it takes to reach a deal. As scheduled, the House is expected to be in session for only nine days of the month.

“Clearly, if we haven't adopted a CR [continuing resolution], we ought to cancel the last week of September's break period, and we ought to be here working,” Hoyer said.

This story was last updated at 10:02 a.m. on July 31.