At his weekly Capitol briefing with reporters Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner dismissed an entreaty from Senate Democrats to negotiate a spending bill that includes budget cuts and revenue generators from all areas of government.
“To try to muddle the current issue with entitlement programs, tax increases — that’s what the next budget process is for,” Boehner said, “and we’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about that.”
To recap, the GOP-controlled House and Democratic-controlled Senate have reached an impasse on how to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. Republicans will only agree to spending legislation that includes significant cuts to domestic discretionary spending. In recent days, Senate Democrats have approached with a counter offer: let’s find similar overall savings, but culled more broadly — from defense spending, entitlements, tax subsidies and so on.The idea, then, is that Congress could agree on smaller cuts in discretionary spending, and make up the difference in the overall price tag by finding savings in ways that will accrue over months and years.
Republicans aren’t biting, at least not yet. But Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said it will be very difficult to find bipartisan consensus on deficit reduction if the focus is limited to domestic discretionary spending.