John Boehner Puts New Compromise On The Table: $40 Billion In Cuts

While things look grim in the budget negotiations, there still seems to be some possibility of compromise:

President Barack Obama warned Tuesday that he would not sign another stop gap spending absent an agreement this week on the 2011 budget, even as Republicans upped the ante, signaling that a $40 billion package of cuts might be the making of a deal.

Republican and Democratic officials confirmed that Speaker John Boehner raised the $40 billion number or $7 billion above the target now being used in negotiations. The Ohio Republican is slated to meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Tuesday afternoon, and Obama said that if the two can’t reach an agreement, he wants them back at the White House Wednesday for more discussions.

“This is not a way to run a government….We don’t have time for games,” the president said.

“We are now closer than we have ever been to getting an agreement,” the president said. “There is no reason why we should not get an agreement. …The only question is whether politics or ideology are going to get in the way of preventing a government shutdown”

Boehner’s press office sidestepped any comment on the $40 billion number. Instead a spokesman said only “The speaker has told Senate Democrats, the President, and the American people that he will fight for the largest possible spending cuts to help end some of the uncertainty that is making it harder to create American jobs.”


Democrats have complained that the speaker keeps “moving the goal posts” in response to tea party pressure, but the $40 billion target is the clearest signal yet of where he would be willing to draw a final line.

This would seem to indicate that the GOP is willing to back down on things like defunding Planned Parenthood and NPR, which have no chance of passing the Senate anyway, but only in exchange for something more than the $33 billion in cuts the Democrats have purportedly offered. If it’s true, and assuming this is a number that the GOP caucus will be happy with, then the two sides are essentially $7 billion apart. If they can’t come to an agreement at this point, it’s because neither side wants to.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. wr says:

    Sorry, Doug, but “give me more than I asked for now that you’ve agreed to everything I started with or I’ll blow everything up” isn’t actually a compromise.

  2. Except there’s no evidence that Boehner or anyone else in the GOP agreed to the $33 billion figure. They said they didn’t so, there was no deal.

  3. Moosebreath says:

    “Except there’s no evidence that Boehner or anyone else in the GOP agreed to the $33 billion figure.”

    Somehow, I think the people who have been in the negotiating room with him have a better idea of what has been agreed to in the past than you or I.

  4. wr says:

    Boehner started off with a $32 million figure months ago.

  5. Gustopher says:

    “If they can’t come to an agreement at this point, it’s because neither side wants to.”

    Or the Democrats have finally realized that the Republicans are not negotiating in good faith, and will keep moving the goal posts every time the Democrats give them what they want.

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    $40 billion here, $40 billion there, pretty soon they’ll be talking about some real money.