House Speaker John Boehner said Congress will need to extend current federal spending levels for a “short period of time” when the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1 because appropriations bills won’t be finished by then.
“A continuing resolution for a short period of time would probably be in the nation’s interest,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters today at his weekly press conference at the Capitol. Congress still must act on spending bills, he said.
“The idea of operating for an entire year with a CR is not a good way to do business,” he said. “It’s important for Congress to do its work.”
House Republican leaders yesterday postponed a scheduled vote on a $44 billion spending bill to finance the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said it didn’t have the votes to pass.
Today, Boehner dismissed Rogers’ concerns and said the measure would have had enough votes. Leaders decided to cancel the vote because there wasn’t time to address about 50 pending amendments, the speaker said.
The Kentucky Republican said he was “extremely disappointed” because the bill represented “the best possible effort” to fund highway construction, rail systems and housing projects “while also making the deep cuts necessary under the current budget cap.”
“The House has declined to proceed on the implementation of the very budget it adopted just three months ago,” Rogers said in the statement. “Thus, I believe that the House has made its choice: sequestration, and its unrealistic and ill-conceived discretionary spending cuts, must be brought to an end.”
Rogers also said it’s “clear that the higher funding levels advocated by the Senate are also simply not achievable in this Congress.”
Boehner said the bill will be brought back to the floor when lawmakers return in September after a five-week break.
Boehner also said the federal spending cuts that began March 1 will remain in place until President Barack Obama agrees to other cuts to replace them.
“We have a spending problem. We have to deal with the spending problem,” Boehner said.
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