Earlier today, The Hill reported that John Boehner planned to move forward with a two-week stopgap spending bill that cuts $4 billion in current levels of spending after getting no response from the White House. Senate Democrats continued to insist on a 30-day continuing resolution at current spending levels for breathing room on a full budget for the rest of FY2011. Boehner wanted action from Barack Obama on making cuts, but told a press conference that the President simply hadn’t engaged:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) suggested Tuesday that a lack of White House engagement on a stopgap federal spending bill is preventing Congress from extending government funding for more than two weeks. …
Senate Democrats, with reported backing from the White House, have pushed for a one-month extension to buy time for negotiations on a bill that would provide funding for the final six months of the fiscal year.
“If we had had a conversation about this 10 days ago or two days ago, we might have had something to talk about,” Boehner said at a press conference, in reference to the White House’s preference for a one-month bill, known as a continuing resolution. “The fact is that we were forced to move on our own. I think we’re taking the responsible path forward to keep the government open and to meet our commitments to cut spending.”
Aides to the Speaker said Boehner met Monday night with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to discuss the short-term spending measure, and a source confirmed that Boehner rebuffed a proposal from Reid for a 30-day extension. “The White House hasn’t been engaged,” a Boehner aide said.
Boehner’s dig got results. Later in the same day, Jay Carney told the White House press corps that Obama had finally called Boehner to discuss the budget:
President Barack Obama telephoned Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday to talk about budget issues, White House spokesman JayCarney said, and they had “a good phone call.”
“We believe that some progress has been made. We believe that there is a focus in Congress now on cuts that we all can agree on. The president, as you know, is committed to reducing spending,” Carney told a White House news briefing. …
A spokesman for Boehner confirmed the call.
“The speaker always appreciates the opportunity to talk with the president about working together on cutting spending and creating jobs,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.
Wow. So merely 120 days after the midterm elections handed Boehner the majority in Congress, 152 days after the FY2011 budget was due, and 56 days since the 112th Session of the House of Representatives began, Obama found some time in his schedule to talk to the Speaker of the House about the budget. That’s what I call leadership.
The House will vote on the 14-day CR this afternoon, which means that Obama will have to talk with Harry Reid. Wonder how long that will take?