ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Speaker of the House John Boehner says there still is not a deal to avert a government shutdown ahead of Friday’s deadline so he will bring to the floor the GOP’s short-term one-week extension that cuts $12 billion while funding the Pentagon for the rest of the fiscal year.
“We’re going to be prepared to move forward with our troop funding bill that would fund our troops, keep the government open for another week, and cut $12 billion in spending. I think this is the responsible thing to do for the United States Congress, and I would hope the Senate could pass it and the president would sign it into law,” Boehner said. “Republicans have no interest in shutting down the government. Shutting down the government I think is irresponsible and I think it’ll end up costing the American taxpayers more money than we’re already spending. And I believe that our members want to support our troops, want to pay our troops, and we’re going to do the responsible thing tomorrow.”
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that there is not an appetite for another short-term CR, particularly one that cuts $12 billion in one week, rather than the $2 billion pace of the two previous short-term stopgap measures.
When asked Tuesday if the GOP’s short-term CR would be “dead on arrival” Reid, D-Nevada, replied, “Oh sure, absolutely.”
But with stiff opposition to another short-term CR in the Senate, a shutdown now appears closer than ever if Congressional leaders are unable to reach a long-term deal.
“In the House, you know, we have a three-day layover policy so people can actually read the bill,” Boehner said. “Once there is an agreement it’s going to take two or three days to actually put it all together. So it’s, we believe it’s important to move this troop funding bill that would keep the government funded for another week.”
House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy assured reporters that the GOP has 218 votes to pass the short-term extension without help from House Democrats.
While Boehner said he likes the president personally, he contends that President Obama is not leading on the issue.
“We get along well. But the president isn’t leading. He didn’t’ lead on last year’s budget. And he clearly is not leading on this year’s budget. You have to remember that the Democrats had a majority here last year, super majorities in the House and Senate. They had the White House and yet they failed to pass the budget,” Boehner said. “Here we are trying to clean up last year’s mess.”
“Our goal is real clear. We’re going to fight for the largest spending cuts that we can get, and the policy riders that were attached to them because we believe that cutting spending will lead to a better environment for job creation,” Boehner added. “We’re continuing to have conversations with our colleagues in the Senate. I’m hoping that they’ll continue to go well.”
Boehner had just finished a closed-door meeting with the House Republican Conference to discuss his meeting yesterday with President Obama where in a rousing conclusion, he thanked the House Republicans for standing by him and supporting him through these tense negotiations.
GOP members say the Republican conference responded with a standing ovation for Boehner, which choked up the House Speaker.
“It would be easy to just fold your cards and go home,” Boehner told reporters. “That’s not what the American people elected us to do. They elected us to cut spending because cutting spending will lead to a better environment for job creators to create jobs. And we’re going to fight for as many spending cuts as we can get.”
ABC News’ Matt Jaffe and Jonathan Karl contributed to this report.