Boehner: Defunding Battle 'Has Been Won' in House, 'Just Beginning' in Senate

By Susan Jones | September 19, 2013 | 12:08 PM EDT

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) talks about deficit-reduction and defunding Obamacare at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. (AP File Photo)

( - House Speaker John Boehner said several times on Thursday that the fight to defund Obamacare "has been won" in the House, but the fight in the Senate "is just beginning."

"We'll deliver a big victory in the House tomorrow, and then this fight will move over to the Senate, where it belongs. I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle."

A reporter's suggestion that Senate Republicans don't think the continuing resolution is the correct vehicle for defunding Obamacare -- and that Republicans will be blamed for a government shutdown -- produced a flash of temper:

"Well, guess what, we're having the fight over here -- we're going to win the fight over here. It's time for them to pick up the mantle and get the job done."

Boehner several times refused to predict what the Senate might do about a continuing resolution that funds all of government except Obamacare. That's the legislation that the House will pass on Friday.

On the debate over raising the nation's borrowing limit, Boehner made it clear that Republicans have "no interest in defaulting on our debt. None. We just want to find a way to pay it off. That's why the House will act on a plan that will reduce the deficit and  includes pro-growth economic reforms, including the delay of the president's health care law.

"There's a common-sense principal here: If we're going to raise the debt ceiling, you should work to reduce the deficit and grow the economy at the same time."

Boehner noted that every major deficit-reduction plan over the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit. "This time should be no different," he said.

He called it troubling the President Obama "has decided to just sit out this debate -- he says he won't engage. You know, most presidents refer to their bipartisan efforts to reduce the deficit as achievements -- the president sees this quote-unquote as 'extortion.' So while the president is happy to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, he won't engage with the Congress on a plan that deals with the deficits that threaten our economy."

Boehner said a debt limit increase without any deficit-reduction "just isn't going to cut it."