Speaker John A. Boehner is challenging the White House to take the possibility of a government shutdown off the table this fall, after the administration issued a broad veto threat earlier this week.
"This morning I sent the president a letter urging him to reconsider his reckless threat to shut down the government later this year," the Ohio Republican said in prepared remarks to reporters at his weekly news conference. "In veto threats of two House spending bills — both of which passed with overwhelming support — the White House said the president would not sign any — any — spending bills unless we agree to his demands on a broader budget deal. In short, the president said give him higher taxes and higher spending or we’ll shut down the government. That’s reckless."
Boehner said the threat violates a March 1 agreement at the White House to separate deficit reduction talks from the funding of the government.
Obama was announcing then his decision to sign a catchall continuing resolution to keep the government open and funded even though the sequester would remain in effect.
Boehner said the threat — which the White House issued on two appropriations bills — will make it harder to find a broader budget deal, not easier.
The threat isn't as broad as Boehner implied, however.
"Unless this bill passes the Congress in the context of an overall budget framework that supports our recovery and enables sufficient investments in education, infrastructure, innovation and national security for our economy to compete in the future, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 2217 and any other legislation that implements the House Republican Budget framework," the threat reads.
That does not address the question of whether the president would sign another CR that keeps the sequester in effect for another year.
So far the White House hasn't been willing to play that level of hardball.
White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage further clarified the White House position, even as she hit back at Boehner in a statement, saying:
We were pleased to see Speaker Boehner hold a press conference today to announce the end of the Republican strategy of governing by crisis. We look forward to seeing Republicans in Congress act responsibly to pay the bills they have already racked up, along with funding the government to avoid a government shutdown. The administration made one thing very clear this week: we simply won’t sign into law the Republican budget, which would drastically slash the investments the middle class, seniors and our economic growth depend on. The President’s policies, including signing into law over $2.5 trillion of deficit reduction, have contributed to the most rapid decline in the deficit since World War II. It’s time for Speaker Boehner to match his promises of an end to manufactured crises with actions, and to stop obstructing the regular order budget process so we can move forward to find a sensible solution to our budget challenges.