The only thing that House Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on when it comes to funding the federal government is that they don’t like continuing resolutions.
At separate press events on Tuesday, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called CRs “very disruptive,” while Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., gave voice to GOP impatience, saying, “We want to see this done, we want to move on to the next budget.”
But here we are.
So, for the stopgap spending bill passed on Tuesday to be the last this year, as both sides have promised, Congress needs to come up with a long-term bill within three weeks (including next week, when Congress is not in session). This will require negotiation and compromise, which may present a greater degree of difficutly that it sounds like it should. The difficulty lies in the fact that each side currently claims to be negotiating while accusing the other of being intractable.
“I want the long-term continuing resolution over as soon as possible. But I'm not going to negotiate with myself,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a Tuesday press conference.
Boehner argues that since the House has passed a budget, the Republican-led body has put their offer on the table and is still waiting for a counteroffer from Democrats.
“The House passed a bill that cut $61 billion from [the] current spending line,” Boehner said. “What has the Senate passed? They've passed nothing. Why can't the Senate show us what they're capable of producing?… When we get that number, we'll have a better opportunity to have real negotiations in a real conference on cutting spending, reducing the uncertainty, and having a better environment for job creation in the country.”
Hoyer dismisses the GOP negotiating-with-myself mantra as evidence of Republicans' unwillingness to negotiate. He pointed to the Senate Democratic proposal that would have cut about half as much in spending as the House GOP bill.
“What frustrates me is that Boehner is saying, ‘This is our offer. Take it or leave it,’ ” Hoyer said.
Hoyer asserts that what he calls the Republicans' inflexibility is the result of tension within the GOP caucus. “They don’t know what they could get from their own side,” he said.
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