Talk of a government shutdown stepped up a notch on Capitol Hill on Thursday, when House Speaker John Boehner ruled out the easiest path around the current budget impasse.
FOR THE RECORD:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: An earlier version of this online article quoted Reid as saying that House Speaker John Boehner "can't control the votes in his caucus and is going to shut down the government." Reid said Boehner "can't control the votes in his caucus to prevent a shutdown of the government."
Boehner told reporters that he would not support a stopgap measure to continue funding the government at current levels — a solution that would buy the House and Senate more time to resolve their differences before funding dries up on March 4.
"When we say we're going to cut spending, read my lips: We're going to cut spending," Boehner (R-Ohio) said.
The comment was not well received by Senate Democrats, who have soundly rejected the spending plan proposed by House Republicans and currently up for debate. The bill would reduce spending by more than $61 billion this year by slashing social services, environmental programs, education and funding tied to the new healthcare law.
Republican lawmakers on Thursday continued making cuts, each further diminishing the measure's chances of passing through the Senate.