Boehner Doubtful Appropriations Deal Can Be Reached

Posted July 16, 2009 at 1:47pm

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday expressed pessimism that a deal would be reached with Democratic leaders to expand the number of GOP amendments that can be considered on appropriations bills.

Boehner told reporters that he had spoken to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday about a GOP proposal to limit debate on and amendments to the remaining appropriations bills. Under the offer, Republicans would agree to a maximum of 20 amendments to each of the outstanding spending measures.

Democratic leaders have established tight limits on the number of amendments allowed on previously passed appropriations bills, prompting an outcry from Republican Members.

“I talked to the Speaker yesterday about our willingness to work with our Democratic colleagues to come to some agreement on how these appropriation bills are being considered,— he said. “They’ve moved more than half of these bills through the House at record speed to spend huge sums of additional money over and above what they spent last year and they appear as though they are going to continue to rush this spending through the House before anyone has a clear idea of what it is.—

Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) formally extended the offer to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in a letter on Monday, but Hoyer referred the matter to Pelosi.

Democrats have privately expressed concern that Republican leaders would be unable to prevent their Conference from trying to derail the bills if the process were more open.

Republicans have complained that Democrats have imposed unfair rules on the seven spending bills that have passed the House this year. Democrats have maintained that the restrictions are necessary because the GOP had previously refused to agree to time limits for debate on measures.