House Speaker John Boehner insisted on Sunday that there aren’t enough votes in the chamber to pass a “clean” bill to reopen the government or raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats make some concessions to Republicans.
“There are not votes in the House to pass a clean [funding measure].” Boehner said on ABC’s This Week. “We are not going to pass a clean debt limit … The votes are not in the House … We are not going down that path.”
His comments, as the government shutdown enters its second week, were meant to push back on comments by President Barack Obama that a combination of Democrats and moderate Republicans could pass a measure to fund and reopen the government if only Boehner would allow a vote to come to the floor. Republicans have been holding out in an attempt to use the shutdown to defund or delay Obama’s signature health-care-reform law.
Boehner again knocked Obama for being unwilling to negotiate over short-term government funding or the debt ceiling, noting the tax increase Obama already secured as part of the so-called fiscal-cliff agreement late last year.
“The President just can’t sit there and say, ‘I’m not going to negotiate,'” Boehner said. “He got his revenues. Now it’s time to talk about his spending problem.”
Asked when the shutdown will end, Boehner replied, “If I knew, I’d tell you.”
Dan Pfeiffer, a White House senior adviser, called on Boehner to prove the votes aren’t there by allowing a vote to happen.