ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
As Congress struggles to meet next week’s deadline to strike a compromise to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, House Speaker John Boehner Friday declined to rule out the possibility of another short-term continuing resolution in order to buy negotiators more time to cut a deal while rejecting calls from within the House GOP Conference to allow a shutdown to happen.
With the April 8 deadline quickly approaching, Boehner was asked point-blank if he would rule out a third short-term CR.
“Our goal is to negotiate this and get it finished as soon as possible,” Boehner said. “We’re continuing to talk, but it’s time for the Senate to get serious. Senate Democrats need to get serious about cutting spending, because cutting spending will lead to a better environment for job creators to create jobs in America.”
Some members within the House Republican Conference, such as Reps. Michele Bachmann and Mike Pence, suggested earlier this week that Republicans should take a stand and, but Friday Boehner said that a government shutdown would actually be detrimental to the economy.
“I’ve never believed that shutting the government down was the goal. The goal here is to cut spending because cutting spending reduces uncertainty. It’ll help our economy,” Boehner said. “And frankly, let’s all be honest. If you shut the government down, it’ll end up costing more than you save because you interrupt contracts. There are a lot of problems with the idea of shutting the government down. It is not the goal. The goal is to cut spending.”
“The House acted. We passed the bill. We’ve put our plan out there. It’s been out there for 41 days,” Boehner added. “It’s pretty clear to us what our plan is, but what is unclear is what the Senate plan is. They don’t have a plan. And why they haven’t acted? Only one can surmise.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says Democrats will not allow a budget deal to include any Republican policy riders that block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are not going to bend on some of these ridiculous riders they have,” Reid, D-Nevada, told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.
Reid said both parties continue to negotiate on a deal to avert a government shutdown and extend federal funding through the remainder of the fiscal year.
“Negotiations towards a compromise are moving forward,” Reid said. “Not as fast as I’d like, but they are moving forward.”
Boehner also reacted to the latest jobs report, which showed that more than 216,000 jobs were created last month while the unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent.
“Today’s jobs report is welcomed news, but Washington needs to do a lot more to end the uncertainty and get our economy moving again,” Boehner said. “It’s clear that we need to cut spending. We need to stop unnecessary regulations, end the threat of tax hikes and pass the trade bills that are out there. And these are the pillars of the Republican plan that will actually create jobs in America.”
Boehner also had a little fun with reporters as the press conference was about to begin when he approached the microphones and said, “Now I think you probably all think we’re going to have a press conference? April Fools!”
Boehner kept the joke going, spinning around to head back towards the Speaker’s office before stopping just short of the door and returning to the microphones.
“I could never be that mean to all of you,” Boehner chuckled before beginning his opening remarks.
ABC News’ Matt Jaffe and Jonathan Karl contributed to this report.