Boehner: Cut Spending, or Expect March 5 Shutdown House Speaker says he won't extend current funding levels By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Feb 18, 2011 7:46 AM CST Updated Feb 18, 2011 11:31 AM CST 123 comments Comments House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Newser) – Zero hour is rapidly approaching for the federal budget, and John Boehner made it clear yesterday that he’s ready for a showdown. The temporary spending measure that’s keeping the government running expires on March 4, and Boehner said he wouldn’t extend it to give lawmakers more time to debate a new budget, the LA Times reports. “When we say we’re going to cut spending, read my lips: We’re going to cut spending,” the speaker said. Democrats accused Boehner of playing a dangerous game of chicken. “We will not stand for that,” said Harry Reid, adding that it looks like Boehner “can’t control the votes in his caucus.” The House continues to debate some 600 spending cut proposals: Yesterday, it cut $20 million from the National Endowment for the Arts and $15 million from a San Francisco historical site. It also banned any funding enforcing the FCC’s net neutrality rules. At a meeting of House Democratic chiefs of staff, a high-ranking Nancy Pelosi aide said odds of a shutdown were better than 50-50, attendees tell Politico.