Facing an outcry from the party’s conservative caucus over allegedly backtracking on spending cuts, House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday that when the House releases its budget proposal next week, the cuts Republicans propose will add up to even more than what they promised last year.
“Next week we are going to cut more than $100 billion,” Boehner said Thursday night during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. “And we’re not going to stop there. Once we cut the discretionary accounts, then we’ll get into the mandatory spending. And then you’ll see more cuts.”
Boehner made a small, but telling departure from the prepared remarks that were released to the press: His written speech didn’t the words “more than” $100 billion, a hint that Republican leaders are facing increased pressure to cut even more than what they vowed in their “Pledge to America.”
The drama began after a chorus of House Republicans spoke out against the Appropriations Committee’s original budget plan, which would have slashed just $74 billion from President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 proposal. Instead, they demanded it contain the $100 billion cuts that Republican leaders outlined last fall. House GOP leaders initially responded by trying to explain why their plan did not contain the full $100 billion — the new figure was pro-rated because the fiscal year is nearly half over — but it did little to quell the demands for more cuts. So this week, the Appropriations Committee got the budget plan thrown back at them with demands to find the full $100 billion.
The committee has not announced exactly when it will release the new proposal, which would fund the government through the next fiscal year that ends on Sept. 30.
The internal squabbles among Republicans are merely a precursor to what is likely to be an even tougher battle they will face in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Senate Democrats Thursday made clear they would not pass a continuing resolution with $100 billion in cuts, setting the stage for a showdown that must be resolved by March 4, when funding for the government expires.