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Boehner: Budget deal won't be 'easy'

Boehner: Budget deal won't be 'easy'

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerAre maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East Joe Crowley to register as lobbyist for recording artists MORE (R-Ohio) said “it’s not going to be easy” to forge a spending agreement between conservatives and Democrats, but he voiced confidence that Congress would avoid a government shutdown in the weeks ahead.
 
“It’s not going to be easy. We never thought it was going to be easy,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerAre maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East Joe Crowley to register as lobbyist for recording artists MORE said Wednesday after a Republican forum on job creation.
 

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The House on Tuesday passed a stopgap measure to finance the government for an additional three weeks, despite growing opposition from conservative Republicans over the pace of spending cuts. The bill cuts $6 billion over three weeks and is expected to pass the Senate before a Friday deadline. Fifty-four House Republicans voted against the bill, and the GOP leadership needed help from Democrats to push it through.
 
Boehner defended the legislation the House approved Tuesday, saying it amounted to $10 billion in immediate cuts over five weeks, including a two-week stopgap measure on which the government is currently operating. That measure expires Friday.
 
“When was the last time you saw the government here in Washington cut anything?” he said.
 
The Speaker wouldn’t bite on claims that Tuesday’s vote empowered House Democrats in budget negotiations for a spending pact to finance the government through September, the end of the fiscal year. Boehner said he has been mindful of the fact that “Republicans control one-half of one-third of our government” and would have to work with Democrats to strike a deal.
 
“I’m confident that we’ll be able to find a way to cut spending, which we believe will lead to a better environment for businesses to be able to hire again in America, and keep the government open,” Boehner said.
 
He said the GOP was “in conversations” with the White House and the Senate, and that he hoped to reach an agreement “as soon as possible.”
 
Boehner spoke after an hourlong forum on job creation that featured business owners from around the country testifying to the Republican view that burdensome regulations and “uncertainty” in the economy are hampering job growth. The event amounted to a GOP infomercial, with the handful of participants largely parroting party talking points for the last several weeks.
 
Democrats have held similar events recently, which they labeled as “hearings” on job growth. House Democrats have criticized the GOP majority for lacking a focus on jobs during the opening months of the new Congress, while Republicans have countered that their efforts to cut spending will create a better environment for private-sector hiring.