Washington (CNN) – While acknowledging mounting opposition from conservative Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday the House would pass a three-week stopgap spending bill that averts a government shutdown to allow further talks on the federal budget for the rest of the fiscal year.
The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on the temporary extension of the continuing resolution that funds the government. If approved, the measure would go to the Senate.
Without the short-term measure, the government would shut down after Friday.
Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters that he knows some conservatives in the Republican caucus, especially Tea Party backed newcomers elected last November, are calling for immediate deep spending cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.
"Listen I understand that some of our members want to do more, but what is it in this bill they disagree with? Nothing. Nothing," Boehner said, adding, "I'm confident that this bill will pass and we'll send it on to the Senate."
In recent days a growing number of House Republicans have said they're opposed to the short term bill that would fund the government until April 8 and cut $6 billion from current government spending.
Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who heads a key bloc of fiscal conservatives, said Monday he doesn't want to fund the government in "bite-sized pieces." Others including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence want so-called "policy riders" that were attached to a previous House-passed spending bill to be included, such as de-funding health care and Planned Parenthood.
Boehner noted the three-week extension bill and a previous short-term bill would cut $10 billion in total from current spending levels. He called that figure a "small down payment" on a larger deal he believed could be reached soon on spending for the rest of the fiscal year.
"We're hopeful we'll have a long term continuing resolution through September 30th and we're hopeful that we'll have it soon," Boehner said. However, he declined to give any details on how the two sides could achieve a compromise, and pressed the White House and Senate Democrats to come forward with a proposal.
So far, Senate Democrats have proposed a total of $10.5 billion in cuts - roughly the total amount included in the most recent short-term extension and the one under consideration this week.
"Why can't the Senate show us what they are capable of producing? I don't know what that number is," Boehner said. "When we get that number, we'll have a better opportunity to have real negotiations and a real conference on cutting spending, reducing the uncertainty and creating a better environment for job creation."
Last week, the Senate rejected a bill that would cut more than $6 billion as well as the House-passed Republican bill that would cut another $57 billion from the 12 percent of the budget that comprises non-military discretionary spending. Senate Democrats said those votes showed the need for compromise on both sides.
Responding to Boehner's demand for a Democratic plan, the number two House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, told reporters the Republicans now control the House and it was their turn to propose something.
"When you win you have a responsibility. We're waiting to hear what their next step is," Hoyer said.
But Hoyer said he opposed any more short-term funding bills, declaring: "We're not going to do $2 billion a week for the next 30 weeks. Period."
Congress faces several spending related issues, including authorizing funding for the rest of the current fiscal year, negotiating a federal budget for fiscal 2012 and raising the nation's debt limit in coming months.
Looking ahead to future battles over more spending cuts, Boehner warned the White House that Republicans won't allow negotiations over this year's spending bill to include talks over how to raise the nation's debt limit, and pushed for even more spending cuts to be linked to that vote later this spring.
"We're not going to increase the debt limit of the United States without real spending cuts and real changes to the way we spend the people's money," Boehner said.
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, have said they want negotiations over this year's spending bill to deal with entitlement reform and the debt limit.
According to a senior House Republican aide who attended Tuesday's regular weekly meeting of House Republicans, Boehner told his GOP colleagues that he views the battle over government spending in three separate phases – the fight over current spending levels, the debate over next year's budget, and the vote on the debt limit.
Boehner made it clear that the debt limit vote would include some reforms, the aide said, suggesting that could include specific caps on discretionary spending for federal agencies, a proposal Republicans included in their campaign platform last fall.
President Barack Obama proposed a five-year freeze on discretionary spending in his budget proposal for next year.
Why is it that no one asks the republicans/tea baggers what their vision of the future of the US is. What will sustain economic growth? What will drive our economy? What will become of the poor kids, the sick and the elderly when funding for programs are cut? Do they believe they'll just disappear with the funding? Or will their magical fairy that makes tax cuts for the top 2% deficit neutral make them disappear? They have no long range plan. And listening to their cuts, I'd say they're turning this country into a vision of Somalia – not the US they claim they "want to take back".
Boehner and the GOP now control the House and we aren't going to sit back and listen to them continue to blame the Democrats. Boehner as well as some of these GOP House members sat in the House while it was under Democrat control and there is no excuse for them to continue to do nothing but blame the Democrats, but then again they have never had a solution, they have always been and will continue to be part of the problem.
Really nice house you're running there, Boner. Remind me to leave my thanks in your never-flushing toilet to show my appreciation. Idiot.
Lack of leadership by Boner. 10 weeks into his leadership, and still not one job creating bill. Fire boner 2012.
Who cares what you think Boner. It still has to go to the Senate numbnuts...forget about it!
This nickel and diming of social programs is getting ridiculous. The Republicans are making a lot of noise, but not being forthcoming about their true intent – to bankrupt all social programs, kill off the middle class, kick seniors into the gutter, and destroy the education system that they preach is oh, so important to our future. Since they will not touch the defense budget, why not reactivate the draft – at least then it would create jobs???
stop lolly gagiing and pass a spending billl, period
Did he get them to agree to the cuts by bawling his head off?
Hoyer is correct about one thing: since the GOP won control of the House, they need to take the lead. Lead, or get out of the way.
By the way, where are the damn jobs you promised, Mr. Speaker?
Hey Bonner: WHRE ARE THE JOBS?????
Boehner sat up in his tanning bed just long enough to predict a three-week spending extension, then, excusing himself, slowly reclined. "That'll be all for now."
Boo-Hoo is really a good-looking man. If it weren't for him being such a selfish low-life two-faced coward of a drunkard.....
He's WEAK !! Cannot control the baggers, and spends too much tan time on the golf course garnering money from the lobbyists.
Big gavel, small mind. Where are those jobs? H claims to be listening to the people. Well the people want a compromise, not a teatard agenda. Majority of the people also say time to tax the upper 2% and have them pay their fair share back to Clinton era levels, what's so hard to understand about that? Hope the orange guy doesn't get too comfortable in the Speaker's chair, 2012 will have him and his boy toy Cantor down and out.
The only "JOB" to be had in Washington is the helluva CON-JOB that Boo-Hoo pulled on his Share-The-Brain-Cell voting base to get him and his lying, destructive cronies re-elected to finish off the country and what's left of the middle class in such a definitive way that the buzzards won't even bother circling the carcass.