As another showdown over funding the federal government builds momentum on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner tried his best today to calm fears that the government may be headed for a showdown and blamed Wednesday’s stinging defeat on House Democrats who he says withdrew their support to score political points.
“There’s no threat of government shutdown,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said confidently. “This continuing resolution was designed to be a bipartisan bill, and we had every reason to believe that our counterparts across the aisle were supportive. Once they began to see where some of our votes were, they decided to play politics and vote against disaster relief for millions of Americans who have been affected by this.”
The vote on the stop-gap spending measure failed 195-230 over disagreements about the amount of disaster relief funding Congress should enact. Forty-two Republicans voted with all but six Democrats to bring down the bill.
Despite the setback, Boehner said he does not regret bringing the measure to the floor for a vote, and said that he still hoped to pass the CR by the end of the day Friday rather than extend the workweek into the weekend.
“I have no fear in allowing the House to work its will, and I’ve long believed in it and I still continue to believe in it. Does it make my life a little more difficult? Yes it does, but at the end of the day every member has an obligation to represent their constituents,” Boehner said. “I’m going to protect that right of our members to do that and it does present a little more work for us, but we’ll work our way through it.”
Boehner and the full House Republican conference are set to meet this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. to attempt to solve the standoff.
“The Founders gave us a committee which is now 535 individuals, and trying to get 535 people to come to an agreement on anything around here is difficult,” Boehner said. “We’ve known that going in, we’ll work our way through this. I’ve always been confident we will be able to come to an agreement and we will.”
As for the president’s visit to a ready mix concrete plant in Cincinnati, Ohio today, the speaker said that while he’s “pleased the president is bringing attention to this much-needed project” he warned that “now is not the time for the president to go into campaign mode.”
“Like everyone in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky I know how important the Brent Spence Bridge is to our region. I’m long supportive of replacing the bridge,” Boehner said. “Earlier this week the White House said that the governing phase is behind them. I think for the sake of American families and small businesses who are struggling, I certainly hope this isn’t so. They have every right to expect us to solve the problems that we have rather than run away from them.”
Boehner added that he hoped the president would support legislation making its way through the House that would “stop the federal government from imposing excessive regulations on cement manufacturers.”
“These regulations threaten thousands of American jobs. We hope the president will address this during his visit,” Boehner said. “Our economy’s in jeopardy. The future for many families and small businesses is hanging in the balance.”