House Speaker John Boehner's budget plan, which had already faced a rocky road in getting approval from Tea Party activists, met an even worse obstacle – the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). On Tuesday, the organization said that the plan, which Boehner claimed cut $1.2 trillion, actually slashed only $850 billion, a number that pales in comparison to other prospective budget deals.
Those in Boehner's camp refused to back down after the setback.
"We're here to change Washington – no more smoke-and-mirrors, no more 'phantom cuts.' We promised that we will cut spending more than we increase the debt limit – with no tax hikes – and we will keep that promise," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, according to United Press International.
Still, it remains to be seen if Boehner can draft a plan that is in line with the most conservative members ofthe Republican party. He was already criticized for his first budget proposal because Tea Partiers believed that it didn't do enough to accommodate the Cut, Cap and Balance bill passed by the House, legislation that cut $111 billion for 2012, according to CNN.
"Boehner is in a tough spot," the news source reports. "He recognizes that the debt limit must be raised to prevent the country from defaulting on its obligations. But he is also representing the will of his most conservative members, who have not yielded in their demands for large, immediate spending cuts as a condition for raising the debt ceiling."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently proposed a budget that the CBO says would cut $2.2 trillion over the next 10 years, which is an admirable sum compared to what Boehner had previously suggested.
Regardless of what kind of agreement is passed, there's no argument that it needs to happen soon – the deadline for the debt talks is next Tuesday, August 2.