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Boehner to Democrats: ‘Get Serious’

Speaker John Boehner challenged Democrats to get serious about spending negotiations on Thursday, the day after the Senate failed to advance a House GOP spending plan to cut $61 billion as well as a smaller Democratic alternative.

I think its time for them to get serious, and theyre not serious, the Ohio Republican said. Its time to get serious about cutting spending.

Senate Democrats indicated Thursday morning that they might be willing to cede some ground to Republicans. Boehner, however, declined to indicate what level of cuts ­ below the $61 billion that the House approved last month he might be willing to agree on.

Im not going to sit up here and negotiate with myself, Boehner said, when pressed on what spending level he might accept.

The Speaker said negotiations with Democrats would continue.

But were not going to get very far if theyre not doing what the American people expect of them, he said.

Boehner said Republicans, who took control of the House in January, were trying to clean up last years mess with their seven-month spending proposal that passed last month.

The Democrats did no budget, they did no appropriations bills, and as a result, they dumped this in our lap, and were trying to clean it up, the Speaker said.

Still, Boehner said he was optimistic that Republicans who are crafting a second short-term continuing resolution to fund the government past March 18 could strike a deal with Democrats to avert a government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he is opposed to a second short-term CR.

This is not going to be easy, Boehner said. Our goal as Ive said many times is to cut spending and keep the government open because cutting spending will lead to a better environment for job creation.

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