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John Boehner
Full video of John Boehner's
press conference below the fold

There's been a lot of buzz about John Boehner's denial of yesterday's reports that a deal had been reached to avoid a government shutdown, but while soundbites from Boehner's statement may have seemed definitive, taken as a whole, what he said seems to confirm that the basic framework of a deal is in place.

The full video is below the fold, but let's start with the heart of his statement, delivered during his prepared remarks:

There's no agreement on numbers, and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to. We control one-half of one-third of the government here, but we're going to fight for the largest spending cuts that we can get to keep the government open and funded through the balance of this fiscal year.

Most people have focused on the very first sentence, but the second one is just as important. While he is plainly stating that nothing has been finalized (which yesterday's reports acknowledged), he's also laying the groundwork for explaining to tea party Republicans why the GOP won't get everything it wants.

Boehner's statement makes clear that he will fight, but only for "the largest spending cuts that we can get to keep the government open." That's the type of thing you say when you're getting ready to sell a compromise—not when you're about to dig in.

A reporter asked Boehner to get into the details of the negotiations, but he refused, saying "I'm not going to get into the negotiations here." Another reporter asked him to characterize the negotiations without getting into the details and he would only say "we're talking." But the fact that both sides are talking is crucial—even though Boehner says there isn't an agreement on the numbers, there does appear to be an agreement on overall spending levels, allowing negotiators from House and Senate Appropriations Committees to work out the details of the final deal.

Boehner also indicated that he wants to get the negotiations over with so that he can move on to other issues, another sign that a deal is imminent. "The sooner we get this finished," he said, "the sooner we can get on to dealing with the really big issues facing our country." Boehner pointed to entitlement spending as the GOP's next focus, and indeed the GOP is preparing to unveil a package of entitlement cuts next Tuesday, something they won't want to do with a shutdown looming.

Boehner also said that Republicans had "promised the American people we would fight to cut spending, and that is what we are doing." The word choice here is important: he did not say Republicans had promised to deliver a certain amount of spending cuts. That's the kind of thing that you say when you're not going to get everything you wanted.

Perhaps the most revealing portion of the press conference came at the end:

QUESTION: Speaker Boehner, HR1 already failed in the Senate. So whatever you're going to negotiate, even though you say there's not a number, is going to be, could be as much as $30 billion less than HR1. What do you say to those tea party activists who are very unhappy with [inaudible]?

BOEHNER: We control one half of of one third the government here in Washinton, we can't impose our will on another body, we can't impose our will on the Senate. All we can do is to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to, and the spending limitations as well.

Bottom-line: Boehner clearly wanted his soundbites to emphasize that there is not yet a final agreement, but nobody claimed yesterday that there was a final deal in place. The report was that a tentative deal on overall spending levels had been reached—not a final deal, which would include riders and the composition of cuts.

But even though Boehner wanted to send the message that there wasn't a deal in place, if you actually listen to everything he's saying, he's making it clear that he understands that there is a limit to what Republicans can actually get and that he wants to get a deal done quickly.

Unless Boehner changes course, that means a final agreement on a funding deal should come soon. Once it does, the next question will be whether tea party Republicans embrace it, or if they bolt as they did during the last short-term extension, forcing Boehner to once again rely on Democratic votes to get the final deal passed into law.

Video of Speaker Boehner's press conference:

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why didn't the Dems pass a budget (6+ / 0-)

    when they had the chance?

    I can't believe they let that, along with a new "Obama tax cut" focusing on the middle class, along with a few bills to help counter/fix Citizens United to slip right through their fingers. It seems amazingly defeatist. Or cowardly. Or both.

    "WINNING!" - Charlie Sheen/Barack Obama

    by sloopydrew on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:32:01 PM PDT

    •  The Dem Negotiating Strategy (0+ / 0-)

      Seems to be to agree to a overall number on amount to be cut ... and then leverage the fear of blame for a shutdown to get the Republicans to not hold out for cuts to go to particular programs, or for riders (e.g. abortion bans and the like), since then the Dems can say "hey we compromised on the budget but the gov't is being shut down over ideological posturing"--which will have the advantage of being true.

      I hear an attempt to resist this strategy in Boehner's refusal to admit that an agreement on a number has been reached ... it is as if he is realizing that once he does, the Rethug goose is cooked ... and yet it is already too late ... ha ha ha

      •  It's a terrible strategy (6+ / 0-)

        and Obama knows it. It's why we had the stimulus package. You do NOT cut spending in the time of a recession. You do NOT raise taxes on the working poor and middle class in the time of recession (which we're effectively doing). You DO raise taxes on the richest in the time of a recession. And you DO use that money to stimulate the economy and create, say it with me, "jobs, jobs, jobs!"

        "WINNING!" - Charlie Sheen/Barack Obama

        by sloopydrew on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:46:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

          Republicans got the cuts they first proposed.  And they'll get the anti-stimulant so they can run in 2012 on the bad economy.  If Dems compromise- as others have pointed out- you don't start with the compromise as your opening position.  You askfor a bigger stim, no cuts, then you strike a deal and say the crazies were going to shut it down so we had no choice, then you run saying lSlow recovery? Blame them not us.

          •  Obama already Sold Out THAT Position Years AGO! (0+ / 0-)

            If he was going to CONFRONT Republicans over anything he would have started out in 2009 and demanded a $2 trillion stimulus, when he learned that the proposed jobs bill would be too small.

            Instead he has been playing a "bi-partisanship" game ever since - which means giving Republicans whatever they want.

            He HOPES that the economy will recover enough for him to win in 2012 and then 4 more years of "bi-partisanship" which means his "grand compromise" on Social Security.

            As for Bohner he WANTS to have to rely on Democrats to pass the draconian tax cuts.

            "If someone has to drink poison then let it be Obama & the Democrats drinking most of the poison. Then in 2012 we can blame them for everything!"

        •  Obama Knows it? (0+ / 0-)

          Why do you think that he knows it?

          •  Because he's not an idiot (N/T) (0+ / 0-)

            "WINNING!" - Charlie Sheen/Barack Obama

            by sloopydrew on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:29:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Granted, He is no idiot but he does seem to (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sloopydrew

              believe that cutting a deal with Republicans in the name of bi-partisanship is a better strategy than pursuing sound economic policies.  I base my belief on the inadequacy of the 2009 stimulus package, the deal on extension of the Bush Tax cuts with the limited extension of unemployment benefits and ignoring the counsel of Paul Volker and Christina Roemer.  His understanding of economics is superficial and he doesn't think sound economics are as important as the closed deal.  Time will tell if he gets the jobs, jobs, jobs, he expects, but I think he will be disappointed.

    •  The blue dogs were scared that voting for a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, smiley7, Matt Z

      deficit would make them lose. Or that refusing to cut taxes for millionaires would make them lose.

      Its not just a matter of corruption, the national Democratic Party simply doesn't understand politics. I know we are supposed to be happy about averting a shutdown, but a lot of people will be hurt. The amount of anti-stimulus will exceed the stimulus from the Obama tax deal.

      And the debt limit and FY2012 are 2 more chances for hostage-taking. We all know how Dems will react to that.

      "Only vigilance and resistance to this baby dictator, Barack Hussein Obama, can prevent the Khmer Rouge from appearing in this country." Michael Savage

      by bay of arizona on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:47:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The senate filibustered it (0+ / 0-)

      They never had a chance

      Watch political video at Daily Kos TV | Twitter: @jedlewison

      by Jed Lewison on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:58:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's (0+ / 0-)

      MY way or the Highway- Stop being stubborn! lol The GoP is incredible.  

      Why didn't they pass it earlier? Fear of backlash? That was certainly the threat given by the newly elected but not yet installed teabaggership... as I recall, anyway.  Agree it sure seems stupid from my perspective. The end result is looking pretty bad. Depressing, really.

      “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

      by Terranova0 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 02:15:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This should always be referred to as: (7+ / 0-)

    "Boehner's job killing compromise"

    "Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy" Hermann Goering (NRSC?)

    by irate on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:32:45 PM PDT

  •  still waiting for the impeachment proceedings (0+ / 0-)

    to begin...

    If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.

    by citizen4truth on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:34:37 PM PDT

  •  Can't wait to see what the Dems and Obama cave in (5+ / 0-)

    on this time.  And I'm not talking about money numbers, which is a forgone conclusion.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:35:09 PM PDT

  •  Clearly, Boner is seeing what liberals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    COBALT1928

    always saw in the teabagger caucus: chaos that sounds good against your opponent but can't really be managed in reality because it's too awash in insanity.

    I wonder if the fear of the tea party is starting to fade with the idea that a good deal of the freshman teabags will be gone in the '12 elections.

  •  In corporate America (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, COBALT1928, sloopydrew, Inoljt, Matt Z

    When phrases such as

    No Decision has been made
    No Agreement has been reached

    it usually means It has but the parties are scrambling to find a way to sell it.....

    I'm the terror that blogs in the Night,. and the daytime too.

    by JML9999 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:37:18 PM PDT

  •  golly, the doublespeak sounds alot like this . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    COBALT1928
    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told a Congressional panel that he strongly opposed putting any American forces in Libya. Asked if there would be American “boots on the ground” — that is, uniformed members of the military — Mr. Gates swiftly replied, “Not as long as I’m in this job.”

    At the same time, Mr. Gates declined to address reports that the Central Intelligence Agency has sent clandestine operatives to Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the rebels.

    NY Times/Obama Admin. Publishing

    If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.

    by citizen4truth on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:39:34 PM PDT

  •  so this is how Boner kisses ass (0+ / 0-)

    oops, I mean kicks ass................................n/t

  •  1/6 of known knowns or unknown knowns... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MTmofo
    There's no agreement on numbers, and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to. We control one-half of one-third of the government here, but we're going to fight for the largest spending cuts that we can get to keep the government open and funded through the balance of this fiscal year.

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:44:51 PM PDT

  •  How many spending cuts are enough? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dancing Frog

    Teabagger GOP: "There's never enough."

    How many corporate tax breaks are enough?
    Teabagger GOP: "There's never enough."

    How many tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires are enough?
    Teabagger GOP: "There's never enough."

    There should never be a tax benefit for companies that screw over American workers.

    by bear83 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 12:45:47 PM PDT

  •  Moammar Boehner......take the deal and cut the (0+ / 0-)

    crap....In way over your head Dude.

  •  Will we lose again? (2+ / 0-)

    We will fold and blame it on them.  That's my prediction and I am sticking by it.

    Keeping the next generation in our hearts and minds PositiveCollegeParenting.com

    by eldercitizen on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:04:42 PM PDT

  •  Once again it will be Obama and the Repubs (0+ / 0-)

    versus the Democrats.

  •  Can't these guys do math? (2+ / 0-)

    Repubs control the SCOTUS, too.  Isn't that effectively 1/2 of 1/3 plus 1/3, or 1/2 the government using his cockamamy formula?

    Idiots.

  •  I wish more Kossacks would (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    remember this...

    We control one-half of one-third of the government here, but

    before they scream bloody murder about all the terrible things the f***ing Republicans are doing in Congress... What  they are DOING mostly is POSTURING...  for the media, for the TeaBagger morons, for their jack-ass friends, who knows whom else...  

    As someone in these parts adroitly mentioned yesterday, bills require both chambers' passage and then the sig of the executive.

    I don't like all the noise, either, but some here might try what wise parents do when their kids throw tantrums: ignore them.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:20:21 PM PDT

  •  Close my ass (0+ / 0-)

    These freshmen representatives have no idea what the word compromise means.

    Spinny Liberal "The thirst to know and understand, a large and liberal discontent." - William Watson

    by TheSpinnyLiberal on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:32:51 PM PDT

  •  How stupid are the Democrats in Congress? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean

    Do they realize that this latest "compromise" is almost exactly what the Republicans demanded 4 months ago?  But since they "negotiated" by demanding more, they got they Dems to crumble for exactly where they started.  The only thing close to a positive in this whole fiasco is that the Republican voters are even more stupid than the Democrats in Congress, and actually took the later demands of $100B seriously.  So the "limited information voters' will think the Republicans folded for "only" $30B in cuts to the most vulnerable Americans (like themselves).

    The Founding Fathers were a bunch of East Coast liberals

    by ImaJoeBob on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:34:09 PM PDT

  •  I would like to see the democrats making some (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRPChicago

    demands for a change. Bernie Saunders is the only legislator currently looking at the zero tax policy on corporations like GE and B of A and many, many other giant corporations that are enjoying gigantic profits, getting billions of dollars in federal subsidies, putting little or nothing back into the economy, and expect constant subsidies and tax breaks and hand outs while more and more of the general population ends up in poverty. But instead of the republicans taking the entire process way out into the nether land of tax cuts and spending cuts ONLY, with no discussion of how to generate jobs and revive the economy in a time of recession, why don't the democrats start introducing measures for discussion the would generate revenue and spending that would fortify the economy instead of constantly letting the republicans take the lead??? Why are there no democrats who will support Bernie Saunders in his lonely exploration of ways that this country really could go to work on solving it's financial problems? Why is Bernie Saunders the only lonely voice out there saying anything at all about the horrible injustice of obscene subsidies that should not be being doled out and the injustice of large corporations taking, taking, taking, and giving nothing back in return. Why are there no democrats addressing the fact that there are so many tax evaders who are getting away with not contributing to the federal reserve while honest Americans expect to pay at least 28% of what they earn into the general fund? Why should any business be exempt from paying into the general fund? Why should any loopholes exist that allow people to set up foreign bank accounts and live tax free while their businesses enjoy the infrastructure provided by the general fund that they are not contributing to? It seems that where Bernie has balls, none of the other democrats do. They seem to be scared shitless of taking a stand and working for the change that they know we need. That's one of the reasons that democrats are perceived to be weak-kneed wienies by so many people who are independent but who may have previously been democrats. We have been living with trickle-down economics since Ronald Reagan started implementing that policy in the 1980s. We have been living with trickle-down economics for 30, going on 40 years now and we now have more than ample proof that giving tax cuts to "the job providers" has, instead of producing the promised jobs and huge benefit to the economy that has been promised for the last 30, almost 40 years, we have at least 15 million people unemployed now and another 7 million people at least who are underemployed and not really able to participate in the economy.

    What would it take for democrats to grow some balls? What would it take for democrats to start making demands and actually work on producing legislation to change the tax code, increase revenue, support governmental spending that not only Americans expect and WANT the government to spend, but on badly neglected infrastructure and social programs that will strengthen and fortify the country by making the economy stronger? In other words, when are the democrats going to start doing the job that Americans expect them to do?

    I know that we are not going to get this type of action from the democrats now, in this time of negotiations with republicans over the 2011 fiscal budget. But, the next item on the republican hit list is not the creation of more jobs, but a full assault on entitlement programs. Are the democrats going to do anything at all to re-steer the discussion to cuts in the military budget, or how to stop and/or redirect subsidies that are going to corporations along with tax exemption? These are pretty simple ideas. But they need to be embraced by a critical mass of our democratically elected democratic congress people in order to get any traction or go anywhere. Why should democrats continue to let republicans control all negotiations and terms of what will be brought up for discussion? Americans have a sense of what needs to be fixed. I believe that many of our elected democrat representatives know what needs to be fixed. But when will they begin to act on it and do their jobs?

    The democratic caucus needs to sit down to discuss how, as a bloc, like the republicans have been so successful in doing with their own caucus, to figure out how they can successfully go to work on rearranging government priorities to support a stonger economy, create a fair tax code, regulate business that need regulation, derivatives and the entire speculative banking industry come first to mind? Democrats made a start in reining in out-of-control health care costs which remains the number one factor in consideration for long-term prosperity or collapse of the economy. But they need to do much more to make sure that instead of increasing exponentially as they have and continue to do so, that health care costs are not only contained, but controlled and there has to be some kind of regulatory network put into place to stop the ever ballooning bubble.

    There is a lot that democrats need to do. Do they have the balls to do it? It remains to be seen if they will do any of this at all even though all of these needs are pressing and they have to work in a system that is also comprised, unfortunately, of a large bloc of republicans who work in lockstep to do what they want, which, generally is the exact opposite of everything in this diary. So, we have a quandry and it lies squarely with the democrats. What are they going to do? Nothing? Or something useful? It's pretty much up to them. It's also up to the voting public to vote for democrats, especially when they express that they want to help the economy recover and build a better America, and not in the phony rhetorical way that the republicans do it. We all know how real and true and virtuous all the republican rhetoric is because they have been screaming it at us for going on 40 years and none of it has worked. In fact, it has put us into the great recession and given us the trillions of dollars of debt that we are now having to deal with. No. We need responsible democratic leadership that wants to do the right thing and maybe we do need for our democratic leadership to be a little bit more like their republican counterparts who work so well together and in lockstep. That style might also be beneficial to democrats if they really want to get things done.

    We'll see. Or we won't see.

  •  Boehner hasn't decided (0+ / 0-)
    ..We control one-half of one-third of the government here..
    whether or not  to include the Supreme Court in his calculations?

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:42:46 PM PDT

  •  Wheever you see "nothing is agreed to until (0+ / 0-)

    everything is agreed to", you can go to the bank that the deal is close to being made.

    God is a concept by which
    we measure our pain
    John Lennon
    Oct. 9, 1940 - Dec. 8 1980

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 01:44:59 PM PDT

  •  Let's not be listening to John Boehner for news. (0+ / 0-)

    And for goodness' sake, let's see the budget deal before we trash it out of hand.

    Too many of the American public to ignore believe that there is a deficit problem and that spending levels are the reason. And there is spending that can be cut. Even we can afford - literally - to admit that.

    Now's the time to do it, do it right, and then stop doing it ... and let's see what the GOP does with its rhetoric, with the deep divisions within its own party and with the terribly unpopular cuts it is almost certain to propose next.

    I'd rather laugh with the sinners, than cry with the saints. The sinners have much more fun!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Mar 31, 2011 at 04:50:41 PM PDT

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