No Deal on Spending Bill With Senate, Boehner Says

Posted March 29, 2011 at 4:14pm

Updated: 7:33 p.m.

House Republicans and Senate Democrats have not reached an agreement over how to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year, Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday, and he called on Senate Democrats to pass a spending bill.

“There are a lot of numbers that have been discussed,” but “the fact is there is not an agreement on a number,” the Ohio Republican said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“Nothing’s agreed to until everything’s agreed to,” said Boehner, who was flanked by the entire GOP leadership team.

The comments came shortly after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said House Republicans fled negotiations to fund the government beyond April 8, when the current continuing resolution expires. Reid said the two sides are $6 billion apart in their overall spending levels, but Boehner spokesman Michael Steel denied that claim.

Reid spokesman Jon Summers said his boss has “a serious proposal that cuts $70 billion in government spending” that is being ignored by the GOP.

“If Republicans are truly interested in forging a bipartisan agreement that avoids a government shutdown, they should come back to the negotiating table and look at what’s in the proposal,” Summers said in a statement.

The House leaders noted that their chamber is the only one to pass a spending measure to fund the government through September, the end of the current fiscal year. That bill, which seeks more than $60 billion in spending cuts, was passed in February, with no Democrats voting in support.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) also mocked Senate Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who was overheard on a conference call with reporters giving talking point suggestions to his Senate colleagues. Cantor said the move suggests that Schumer “is intent on playing political games.”

Like Boehner, Cantor said Senate Democrats need to come forward with their own spending plan.

“Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer decided that they’re not going to be about cutting spending, so if that’s the case there’s only one other alternative,” Cantor said. “They have to lay out as to how they’re going to sustain this type of deficit and the debt. You either cut spending or raise taxes. Where is Harry Reid’s plan to raise taxes?”