From NBC’s Luke Russert and Domenico Montanaro
After last night’s failed vote to extend provisions of the PATRIOT Act, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the GOP isn’t “going to be perfect every day,” but he blamed it on Democrats -- despite 26 members of his caucus voting against it.
"Well listen, we've been in the majority four weeks, we're not going to be perfect every day,” Boehner said. “If the Democrats who had voted for these provisions last year had voted for them this year, it would have passed. We're going to get these extensions of the PATRIOTIC Act enacted, because it's important for the safety and security of the American people."
Asked why leadership brought the bill up under suspension rules, which would require a two-thirds majority, if it didn’t have the votes, Boehner insisted the vote was there.
"It was," he said.
Another area of disagreement within the GOP caucus, particularly the Tea Party wing, is on spending. Some Tea Party-backed members – and Tea Party groups at large -- have criticized the GOP for not cutting spending enough, at least not to their proposed $100 billion promise in the “Pledge to America.”
"I have made it clear for a month now that I believe we ought to allow the House to work its will,” Boehner said. “I've been a big believer of this for the 20 years that I've been here. Now we have a chance to do it. Let's let the House make that decision. It's not about my decision, it's not about anybody else's decision. All members Democrats and Republicans ought to have a chance to involve themselves in the process of legislating and let all members represent all Americans to develop how much cutting the American people really want. I'm looking forward to debate, I'll look at the amendments, let's let the House vote on them."
Ahead of next week’s White House budget release, Boehner said the GOP will release its spending cuts bill tomorrow.
"Tomorrow, we'll unveil our budget-cutting bill to fund the government from March 4th to Sept. 30th, again keeping our pledge to the American people that we will cut spending,” Boehner said. “All of this will create an environment for more jobs in America."
This announcement means that tomorrow the public will be able to see which government programs specifically the GOP would propose cutting in order to bring spending down by $32 billion for the rest of fiscal year 2011.
Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will be at the White House this afternoon to have lunch with President Obama. They’re expected to talk about spending cuts among other items.
“These are the kind of issues that we are going to talk to him about,” Cantor said, “and hopefully, we can find some common ground so we can see jobs growing in this country again."
While Cantor emphasized “common ground,” McCarthy took a shot at the president.
“As the leader said, when we go down to see the president I am very hopeful,” he said. But then added to the reporters gathered, “You want be there -- the teleprompters won't be there.
“I hope we have a very frank conversation about how we are going to create jobs and cut the spending in Washington."