Such news threatened to reopen divisions between the two leaders. The end of the debt talks ushered in a remarkable period of detente between the two leaders. Cantor became one of Boehner’s staunchest supporters in the waning days of the fight with the White House, while Boehner repeatedly praised his lieutenant’s efforts to hold the conservative line during talks with Democrats.
But a spokesman for Boehner said the spending level that came out of the debt deal would be the number that they are all working toward. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, “$1.043 trillion will be the final FY 2012 number.”
House Republican aides confirmed that a lower number had been under discussion, but they are all now working off of the debt deal number.
Leaders in the two chambers in both parties must also get on the same page on how much money to provide for emergency disaster relief and whether to offset it.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to provide $7 billion for emergency disaster relief.
But the Nevada Democrat failed to win the 60 votes needed to take up a House-passed bill that he wanted to use as the vehicle for the disaster spending.
Reid said on the Senate floor that the funding is urgently needed, noting that emergencies have been declared in 48 states.
But while Reid failed to win the vote, he might have won some political points by getting GOP Senators on record voting against disaster spending.
The likely vehicle for the funding now will be the CR.
Senate Budget ranking member Jeff Sessions said he believes the Senate should not provide the spending before getting expert advice on the precise needs.
“We haven’t carefully examined every penny of it,” the Alabama Republican said.
“I come from a state that has suffered,” he continued. “I know we are going to need spending. But how much more do we need? ... I don’t know yet. I would like to have an expert look into it before we approve another $7 billion.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said she would like as much of the disaster spending paid for as possible.
But she added that, historically, emergencies have not been offset.
“I would like to make sure that the amount of money being requested isn’t just a figure plucked out of the air, but based in a serious and realistic analysis of what the needs are,” she said.