Boehner says he hasn't spoken to McConnell

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Debt ceiling games endanger US fiscal credibility — again MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights MORE (R-Ky.) haven’t spoken to each other in two weeks despite the shutdown fight gripping the Capitol, House Republicans said Wednesday.

During a closed-door House GOP conference meeting Wednesday morning, Boehner told Republicans that he hadn’t spoken to McConnell recently despite the looming deadline at midnight Friday to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“He said he hadn’t spoken to Mitch McConnell in a few weeks. We gave them a good bill. It funds the stuff we’re supposed to do, secure the borders,” Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said after a morning conference meeting.

Another Republican said Boehner planned to talk to McConnell later Wednesday.

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Just a day earlier, McConnell spokesman Don Stewart suggested the two GOP leaders are in constant contact. Stewart was asked whether McConnell warned Boehner about his latest decision to bring a clean DHS funding bill with no immigration provisions to the Senate floor.

“I don’t have any readouts about their meetings,” Stewart said. “They update each other all the time.” 

“I was a little surprised,” Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) said of Boehner’s statement about the lack of communication with McConnell. 

Their silence points to the friction between the two chambers when it comes to DHS funding, with Senate Republicans preparing to move the bill that does not overturn President Obama's executive actions on immigration.

House conservatives are lining up against that plan, and Boehner declined to take a position on it.

“Until the Senate does something, we're in a wait-and-see mode,” Boehner said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has reached out to Boehner about the importance of preventing a DHS shutdown Saturday, Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday warned that Senate Democrats wouldn’t agree to McConnell’s new plan until Boehner promises to pass a clean spending bill too. As part of the approach, McConnell also promised to bring a bill to the Senate floor that would defund Obama’s immigration orders from last November.

House GOP leaders early Wednesday emerged from their conference meeting with no decision on next steps yet. Boehner repeated that he’s waiting for the Senate to act before determining what the House will do.

Many House conservatives bashed McConnell’s plan while some Republicans expressed support for a clean bill. 

Congress needs to fund the DHS by the end of Friday or it will shut down.

Updated at 1:15 p.m.