By Chris Castelli
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today that GOP lawmakers are eying “a million options” for dealing with a stopgap spending bill designed to prevent a government shutdown. House Republicans were forced to withdraw the measure from consideration this week due to objections from GOP conservatives focused on defunding “Obamacare.”
“There are a lot of discussions going on . . . about how to deal with the CR and the issue of ‘Obamacare,’ and so we’re continuing to work with our members,” Boehner told reporters. He said he is mindful that the prospect of a government shutdown is looming at the end of the month. “There’s all this speculation about these deadlines that are coming up,” he said. “I’m well aware of the deadlines. So are my colleagues. And so we’re working with our colleagues to work our way through these issues. I think there is a way to get there. I’m going to be continuing to work with my fellow leaders and our members to address those concerns.”
“There are a million options that are being discussed by a lot of people,” Boehner added. “When we have something to report, we’ll let you know.”
House Minority Leader Namcy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters, “Now Americans face the prospect of another Republican-manufactured crisis to shut down the government.” Pressed on whether she could support a short-term CR if it does not seek to defund “Obamacare,” she replied, “We’ll see what they do. It would have to be a very short time, and that’s part of our discussion, what is the timing and what would the — would there an omnibus? Would there be minibuses that come next? You know, what comes next?”
Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office today released a letter about the CR. “CBO has underscored that the House’s CR funds defense at sequester levels, though that point is obscured because CBO talks about budget function 050, which is $20 billion or so lower than DOD’s topline,” Russell Rumbaugh, the director of the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program, told InsideDefense.com.
“What CBO made crystal clear is that such a level sets up yet another ding to the defense budget,” said Rumbaugh. “The [fiscal year 2014] caps are lower than the FY-13 sequester, so funding DOD for three months at the higher level means the last nine months have to pay more.” It remains to be seen, however, whether the government would opt to spend at that higher rate given last year’s debacle, even if the CR allows it.