Boehner Wants to Keep Shutdown Focus on Obama, Sequester

August 26, 2013

Speaker John A. Boehner outlined a strategy for next month’s spending fight focused on the sequester spending cuts — and not on defunding Obamacare.

The Ohio Republican told his flock he intends to push a short-term spending bill that would keep the sequester locked in place until President Barack Obama agrees to smarter spending cuts — effectively reiterating what he told reporters before the August recess. Boehner said the plan “keeps the government running,” according to someone on the call. That could provoke a shutdown showdown if Obama refuses to go along. Obama agreed to a spending bill at sequester levels in March, but since then the White House has repeatedly issued vague veto threats over spending levels.

It’s clear, though, that Boehner thinks spending levels are a battle the GOP can win.

“The president’s threat to shut down the government if we implement his sequester is not a defensible position,” he said. “The American people won’t stand for it, and we’re not going to be swayed by it.”

While a House GOP aide insisted that no final decisions have been made on defunding Obamacare on the CR, Boehner didn’t mention the push by about a third of his conference in a letter earlier Thursday to risk a government shutdown in a push to defund the health law.

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