House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) continued today to press Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to appoint conferees to work out a budget deal, stressing “our goal here wasn’t to shut down the government.”
“I was at the White House the other night and listening to the president some 20 times explain to me why he wasn’t going to negotiate. Sat there and listened to the majority leader in the United States Senate describe to me that he’s not going to talk until we surrender. And then, this morning, I get the Wall Street Journal out, and it says, ‘Well, we don’t care how long this lasts, because we’re winning,'” Boehner told reporters after a GOP caucus meeting. “This isn’t some damn game.”
“The American people don’t want their government shut down, and neither do I. All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a discussion and to bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare. It’s as simple as that. But, it all has to begin with a simple discussion.”
Democrats have refused to go to conference on the continuing resolution until Republicans agree to short-term funding that reopens the government.
Boehner was pressed about how those negotiations might be tied to the Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline.
“The issue right now is the continuing resolution to open the government. And all we’re asking for is for Harry Reid to appoint conferees so we can sit down and have a conversation about bringing fairness to the American people and getting our government open,” he said.
“Our goal here wasn’t to shut down the government. Our goal here was to bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare. I don’t believe that we should default on our debt. It’s not good for our country. But after 55 years of spending more than what you bring in something ought to be addressed,” Boehner continued. “This year, we’ll have more revenue than any year in the history of our country and still have a nearly $700 billion deficit. And I think the American people expect if we’re going to raise the amount of money we can borrow we ought to do something about our spending and the lack of economic growth in our country.”
The speaker dismissed reports that he’s been “personality sniping” with Democrats behind the scenes.
“That’s just not true,” Boehner said. “I have very good relationships with all of my colleagues across the aisle… and maintaining these relationships is critically important. All I’m asking for is let’s sit down like the American people would expect us and talk to one another about getting the government open and dealing with the significant problems that we face.”