Boehner: 'I Expect We're Going to Do a C.R. Next Month'
(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters on Thursday that lawmakers will leave town for their summer vacation without completing their basic budget duties. Nor do they expect to reach a deal on the immigration crisis or the VA mismanagement before the August recess.
"I expect we're going to do a C.R. (continuing resolution) next month," Boehner said. He expects the temporary spending measure to keep the government funded at current levels until "early December" -- after the midterm election. That leaves the remaining spending decisions up to a lame-duck Congress.
Government funding will run out on September 30, the end of the fiscal year, unless Congress either passes all 12 regular spending bills by then; or, failing that, a stopgap measure. This time, there is no talk of another government shutdown.
The congressional recess runs from Aug. 2 through Sept. 7.
Boehner also indicated that lawmakers will leave town without agreeing on a bill addressing the border crisis -- or a bill dealing with veterans' medical care.
On the border crisis, Boehner said, "We're continuing to discuss these issues with our members, and looking at those recommendations. But the process has been hampered by the contradictory messages being sent by the White House about the president's willingness to solve the problem.
"You know, the administration started earlier this month by signaling some openness to changes in the 2008 law, to accelerate the process of returning these children to their home countries. The president called for this change. The Secretary of Homeland Security called for this change. And other administration officials have called for this change. Now, the president and his team have apparently flip-flopped. Now they want billions in new spending, with no commitment to actually solving the problem."
Boehner said it's a similar story with the crisis at the Veterans Affairs Department. "Bipartisan, bicameral negotiations were making good progress, until the White House began demanding more money with no accountability, and no strings attached. Now, I want to be clear: there's going to be no blank check for the president and his allies.
"Now, some in Washington may view every new crisis as an opportunity to demand more taxpayer dollars. But the American people don't see it that way. They want solutions."
Both the House and Senate have passed their own bills dealing with mismanagement at the Veterans Affairs Department, but on Thursday, negotiations broke down when the House refused to go along with the Senate plan and instead introduced a competing proposal.
"Well, I thought we were making great progress," Boehner said. "And, frankly, I'm still hopeful that we can get this resolved. But the White House rolls in with a request for $13.6 billion of new -- new money. Not very clearly outlined. No hearings. No nothing. And expect us to just add it to this conference report. We're not going to do that."
Boehner said the House is "working diligently" to reach an agreement on the Veterans legislation: "We believe that those veterans who've been waiting in lines, those veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, ought to have access to care and they ought to have access to care now.
"Now, secondly, I think we need to understand how -- how sick this patient is, and I'm talking about the Veterans Administration. We've got a systemic failure of an entire department of our government. And I think understanding just how sick this patient is is critically important, before we start doing what Washington usually does, and that's just throw money at the problem, throw money at the problem. And so, let's -- let's do what needs to be done quickly, and, I'm, again, I'm remaining hopeful.
"Now, when it comes to the border...let me go back," Boehner continued. "This is a problem of the president's own making. And then he tries to -- says he wants to solve the problem, so we that we can stop this influx, but then he changes his mind. We've got a president that's AWOL. And the president ought to get engaged in this if he actually wants something to happen."
In response to a question about President Obama's fundraising trip to the West Coast -- at a time of pressing foreign and domestic crises -- Boehner suggested, "Well, maybe he ought to just reorganize his priorities."