Boehner: Sequester deal before deadline unlikely

During an interview on CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley said it seemed like it’s too late to get a deal done and that “the sequester is going to happen.”

“At this point I would agree, it looks that way,” Boehner said. “But hope springs eternal.”

Boehner looked to lay blame on President Obama and Senate Democrats for cuts, standing by his argument that the House passed two bills in the previous Congress and wouldn’t be moving another before the deadline.

The House in 2012 approved measures twice to replace the cuts known as sequestration, but because a new Congress began in January, those bills are now inoperative. Still, Boehner has been adamant that the Senate moves first in 2013 if Democrats want to stave off the cuts to military and domestic programs.

“The House has done its work,” he said. “It’s time for the president and Senate Democrats to do their work. They’ve known for 16 months that this date was coming, that’s why the House acted twice last year, and yet Senate Democrats and the president never passed anything. It’s time for them to do their work.”

Boehner sought to downplay the testy back-and-forth between the parties that escalated throughout the day. Boehner instigated the row by saying Senate Democrats needed to “get off their ass” and pass a bill.” The Speaker has previously said Obama “doesn’t have the guts” to stand up to those in his own party when it comes to spending cuts.

“Listen, I had a very nice conversation with the president last week. I had a very nice conversation with Harry Reid…the week before,” Boehner said. “Our members want us to have cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years. And that’s a tall order. It’s going to mean real work on our entitlement programs, real work on other spending items in the budget.”

Boehner reiterated that the House wouldn’t consider any bill that included revenue increases.

“The president got his tax hikes in January,” he said. “The federal government will have more revenue this year than any year in our history. It’s time tackle spending. Period.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday that he would not agree to any package that replaces the sequester with only spending cuts.