Washington (CNN)House Speaker John Boehner admitted Thursday that Congress will have to pass a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown this fall, signaling that gridlock still grips Capitol Hill despite Republican control of both the House and Senate.
Boehner: Congress needs short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown
"It's pretty clear given the number of days we're going to be here in September that we're going to have to do a (continuing resolution) of some sort, but no decisions have been made," Boehner said, referring to a "continuing resolution," a measure that sets funding levels for all federal agencies.
The admission is a setback for GOP leaders who promised if they controlled both chambers of Congress they would return to the practice of passing all spending bills for various government agencies and forgo large, stop-gap funding measures, which they complained for years were a clumsy way to fund the government.
House Republican leaders pulled the plug on their goal to complete all 12 individual funding bills after Democrats recently proposed politically fraught amendments to remove the Confederate flag at federal grave sites. The controversy forced Boehner to yank a spending bill for the Interior Department from the House floor earlier this month and stop movement on other measures, as Democrats threatened to continue to bring up the flag issue.
In the Senate, Democrats have blocked all action on spending bills because they are upset the Republican spending bills provide more money for defense than domestic programs.
It's unclear how long the GOP stop-gap funding bill would be -- proposals floated have ranged from a few months to more than a year. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called a year-long spending bill a "failure" and called for Republicans to engage in budget negotiations.
Many House conservatives have pressed their leadership to use spending bills to bar any federal funds for Planned Parenthood, a group that provides women's health services. Recently two videos surfaced from an anti-abortion rights group raising questions about whether the group was selling the body parts of aborted fetuses, a practice that is illegal. Planned Parenthood denies any illegal activity.
Boehner sidestepped questions on whether the House would move to strip all federal money for Planned Parenthood as part of the spending debate.
"There's an investigation underway and I expect there will be hearings and as that process develops we'll make decisions based on the facts. Let's get the facts first," Boehner said.
Pelosi dismissed the GOP's criticisms.
"They've been out to get Planned Parenthood for as long as I can remember," she said.
Back in 2011, the first major confrontation the GOP-led House had with President Barack Obama was over a spending bill that defunded Planned Parenthood, and the stand-off nearly lead to a partial government shutdown. Ultimately House Republicans backed off that provision, but the latest flashpoint over videos reignited the debate.
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, is proposing an amendment to the highway bill the Senate is considering this week that would strip all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.