Speaker John Boehner
says the House has done its job, and any action on the current budget is now up to the Senate and he hopes senators get serious about completing the spending bill for this year before Congress tackles the 2012 package in four to six weeks.
“We did our work several weeks ago when we passed $100 billion worth of spending cuts from what the president requested for this year. And we passed it over to the Senate. They haven't acted,” Boehner Wednesday told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
“We decided to move the short-term CR [continuing resolution] to keep the government open, but while same time cut spending. So we cut $4 billion. And while they [House Democrats] moaned and groaned about it, they all seemed to vote for it,” he said. “And I'm hopeful that the Senate will get serious about finishing out this year. We can't go through this every two weeks. But the House has acted. When is the Senate going to act?
“And then in about four to six weeks, we'll begin to deal with next year's budget. We really have to focus in on that two thirds of the budget that's really driving the deficit and the debt to the levels that we see,” Boehner continued. “When you look at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid – these are important programs for tens of millions of Americans, but they're not sustainable at their current levels. They're not affordable for our kids and grandkids. We're going to have to make some changes.”
Van Susteren noted President Barack Obama has suggested that Vice President Joe Biden act as a mediator between Democrats and Republicans on completing the 2011 spending package. Boehner said Biden could better use his time by sitting down with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to come up with a Democrat position.
“Like I said before, it's hard to sit down and negotiate,” Boehner said. “We've done our work. I know where we are. They know where we are. But we don't know where their position is. They don't have a position. So how do I know where they are and what we should negotiate from and what the right number is? I have no idea.
“Our goal is to keep the government open and cut spending. The American people know the spending is out of control,” he added. “We had a GAO [Government Accountability Office] report come out yesterday talking about all the duplicative programs in a number of different areas. There is enough government here to cut. It's time to … save taxpayers money. And it's been interesting to watch this debate over the last couple of months.
“When it started, they didn't want to cut anything. Now we got them at least agreeing that we've got to cut spending. The only question is how much.”
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