Schumer: Republicans 'clamoring' for government shutdown
February 20th, 2011
12:02 PM ET
4 years ago

Schumer: Republicans 'clamoring' for government shutdown

Washington (CNN) – Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York criticized Republican demands to cut spending in a short-term spending resolution that would continue funding the government while negotiations persist on a longer-term plan.

Appearing Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," Schumer said compromise is necessary to avoid a government shutdown that will be bad for everyone.


"Here's the bottom line: we have said shutdown is off the table," Schumer said. "Speaker (John) Boehner, (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell, other Republican leaders have not taken it off the table when asked and there are lots of people on the hard right clamoring for a shutdown."

The current funding law expires March 4th and lawmakers are attempting to reach a short-term deal before leadership works out a more permanent resolution. However, Boehner said Thursday that Republicans will not accept any extension of government spending without cuts to the current levels.

On Saturday the House passed a Republican measure to cut federal spending by $61 billion below current levels, which is $100 billion below the president's budget request for 2011 that was never enacted.

Republicans contend it is Democrats pushing the process toward a shutdown by ignoring the need for immediate and substantive spending cuts.

But Schumer said Democrats already agreed to $41 billion in cuts below the president's 2011 budget request – which is roughly the same as 2010 levels – and are now preparing "an emergency stop-gap measure to keep the government going so there's not a shutdown."

"What we're proposing is that for a short time – a couple of weeks – we continue that $41 billion level while House and Senate negotiators come up somewhere in the middle," he said. "We are saying, 'Negotiate,' and they're saying, 'Do it my way' before any negotiations even begin."

Schumer warned that a government shutdown would be "dangerous for the American people."

"It's wrong, it would hurt innocent people, hurt the economy," Schumer said. "And we hope we can come to the table and negotiate without shutting the government down."

Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana stressed the severity of the situation and "imminence of a government shutdown," urging the president to call the Congressional leadership together.

"This is a time for presidential leadership because it is crucial… (that) we do not have a government shutdown," Lugar said on CNN. "But we must have reductions that are very, very substantial and the Senate must have an opportunity to act upon them as well as the House."


Filed under: Charles Schumer • Congress • Dick Lugar
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Marcus

    The list of spending cuts offered by the GOP shows how ideological (and not economic) are the reasons behind them.
    NO more fundings for 'welfare' and 'government intrusion in the market/economy'.
    They could not reach it now, or they'd have proposed a 500+ billions cut, so they started with their 'my way or the highway' current proposal, and since its an ideological issue for them they are not open to discussions.

    February 20, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. brian

    Rumsfeld you are a douchebag, admitting to the public that he knew he should have left sooner equates this man to knowingly having poor judgment- so why should anyone care what he thinks?!@

    February 20, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The republicans and baggers said they were going to shut down government when they ran in the last election. Now they are going to blame democrats. Republicans will always be little puppets of the Koch brother Bircher party. By the way, in Wisconsin, the Kochs bused in baggers just like Henry Ford used mobsters to break the unions. I often wonder what the Koch heads could be thinking, but I am sure there is not much thought in being a muppet for the billionaires.

    February 20, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. lynn

    Of course they're clamoring, the game is "Make it look like it's the Democrats fault", lose jobs and the economy will tank again. They have a plan and the public is gullible enough to believe them. It's all about "get the black President out of the WH", not just because he's a Democrat, but his race is the biggest factor. Let's hope the public remembers, but probably not.

    February 20, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Schumer and the Democrats in congress are just shocked that the Republicans are actually doing what they said they would do, what they were sent to Washington to do and what they are paid to do.

    The Democrats need to stop denying that there are serious problems with $14 trillion worth of debt being driven now by the Obama Administration to $25 trillion. It does matter. We need to deal with the federal government overspending now. Not next quarter or next year. The time is now. Get on board or get out of the way. The American people are on board.

    February 20, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    The folks on the right clambering for a government shut down are just the usual, uninformed, knee-jerk reactionaries who are incapable of thinking anything through. You really want to not send Social Security checks to retirees who paid into the system their whole working lives, in the middle of winter?

    You really want to disable all our security agencies, like the FBI, CIA, border patrol, and food inspectors (yes, food inspectors; what a better time to mess with the food supply than that)?

    What about the national parks, Veteran's hospitals, people on Medicare?

    You want to balance the federal budget? Then raise taxes on the wealthy back up from the current 36% to what it was under Reagan (who, BTW, raised taxes 11 times): 39%.

    Close the loopholes that allow 100 of the Fortune 500 companies to not pay a DIME in taxes, and collect all the unpaid taxes on the money hidden by the rich in off-shore bank accounts.

    While you're at it, raise the income cap for FICA from the current $106,000 to $250,000 to shore up Social Security.

    Start using your heads, folks!

    February 20, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Larry L

    If you reduce enough of our government's services you have Mexico. Bad food, water, air and a completely corrupt government. The rich get richer and the poor stay dirt poor. Education and health care are only for the rich and human rights are an impossible dream. Is this the America the Republicans want?

    February 20, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    All the Republicans care about is making things so bad for the average American so they can blame President Obama in the hopes of winning the White House in 2012.

    Two things:

    1. Given the Republicans dismal track record with economic, military and foreign policy (all of which are PROVEN FAILURES), why anyone would vote for them is beyond me.

    2. When are folks going to start waking up to the fact that Republicans care more about money and power than the American people? All they do is spread fear, hatred, division and lies, in an effort to convince people to vote against their own self-interest.

    February 20, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. vic nashville tn

    Middle class is disappearing but they contribute more
    Why this is happening? Answer is Republicans

    Look at the list of cuts it will affect middle class

    “government shutdown” its political slogan real problem republicans emptying middle class pocket

    February 20, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. terry, va

    Schumer is an idiot. The government will not be shut down unless Obmmunie wants it it be. The repubs will finance interest payments and other essentials. The rest will be up to dumbocraps and Obummie. Actually I don't give a damn if the welfare programs go away. Get a job sorry boys and girls !!!

    February 20, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Are GOPers smarter than a 5th grader? Hell no, my truck is smarter than a republican/bagger/Koch head!

    February 20, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Here's another thought on how to balance the budget: Eliminate the $35 billion per year in oil industry subsidies.

    That's a nice big chunk, and given the oil industries record profits, they can well afford it.

    February 20, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    Four and The Door: Were you this concerned when GW Bush waged two unfunded wars, keeping their costs off the books and cutting taxes during wartime (unprecedented in our nation's history)?

    Reagan cut taxes while building up the military budget – and when he saw the resulting deficits, he raised taxes, a total of 11 TIMES during his presidency.

    Bush sent out Cheney to tell all the Sunday talk shows that "deficits don't matter."

    President Obama had the stones to be honest with the American people and put the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the books.

    February 20, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Positive

    Republicans just can't seem to stop themselves from over-reaching when they get a little power. They are just trying to push through their ideology via a budget – look at their targets: women's health issues, epa, npr, education, unions, deregulation - under the guise of being fiscally conservative. Then, threatening this country with a shutdown like they did in the 90's if they don't get their way.

    The only good thing about this is in 2012 the American voters willl show them the door.

    February 20, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Four and The Door

    Watching Democratic Senator Schumer face the reality that federal government spending is going to be brought into control is like watching a drug addict in his first week of rehab. Be patient, Senator Schumer. It's for the good of us all. It will be difficult for sure, but we all know now that it has to change.

    February 20, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Larry L: I lived in Central America growing up (my father was career Army) and what you are saying is true. Our country is headed that way, no doubt. What all the yahoos who blindly follow the Republicans and Koch Bros. don't get is they are the ones who will suffer the most if the Republicans succeed in dismantling/privatizing our government.

    And when those yahoos wake up to the fact that they've been used and they live in squalor with no hope for their childrens' future, they will learn the hard way just how little regard the Republicans voted for have for them, when they turn their backs and tell them "Tough luck; you should have been born into wealthy!"

    February 20, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure that America becomes a third world country. Republicans seem to like the idea that only the wealthy will have rights. It appears they must like the pictures of people of Haiti living in cardboard boxes and drinking out of mud puddles, and want middle class Americans to live like that.

    February 20, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. annie s

    ThinkAgain, people vote for them for a few reasons – they are either wealthy, callous or not too bright and believe the sound bites by people like Death panel Sarah. Sadly, most fall into the "not too bright" category because any middle class American who casts a vote for a conservative is voting against their own self interests.

    February 20, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. duke

    Don't worry,because when the bottom falls out some political party will be a relic of the past!
    By the way,Don't buy Rumsfelds book,we have to protest not award criminals!
    Also,where are the jobs??
    And why no cuts offered to the oil companies?
    Why can't they fund there own profits?
    Republicans are not for the people,they are for profit,and friends!

    February 20, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    terry, VA "Actually I don't give a damn if the welfare programs go away. Get a job sorry boys and girls !!!"

    And what about all the children affected by this? And all the single mothers who can't afford to work because they can't afford daycare? And what about the mentally and physically disabled, who were born that way – just let them all suffer?

    Go live in a third-world country (like I have) where the least among us are told to fend for themselves. Then get back to us.

    And while you're at it, if you are a Christian brush up on Matthew 25:40, where Jesus says: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

    February 20, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. david

    Since the Republicans what to cut the budget, why don't they start with there own paychecks and benefits. Period

    February 20, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    Four and the Door: "It's for the good of us all. It will be difficult for sure, but we all know now that it has to change."

    Let's have those who can most afford these cuts – the rich and the oil companies and the 100 of the Fortune 500 companies who didn't pay a DIME in taxes last year – shoulder the burden.

    Having the most vulnerable in our society shoulder it is patently unfair and un-American.

    February 20, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Positive

    The Republicans forget that unlike the budget with no numbers they waved around two years ago, the President and the Democrats have a REAL plan for the American people to compare to their partisan, ideologic one. If they think they can put forth this nonsense plan to promote their ideologic agenda, force a shut down of the federal governement if they don't get their way and have anyone but their far-far-right base think it's the fault of anyone but the Republicans, they are even more out of touch than I thought.

    February 20, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. vic nashville tn

    One cut really bother me is $747 million. 3 years back part of my studies I learn about WIC program. Its goes to Infants and pregnant woman no scam or fraud on this program

    Other cut $1 Billion Community health centers. Its help disease free environment cut there also

    Same budget bill $158 Billion to Iraq and Afghanistan war

    Compare the money we spend on war, really they want make cut these programs

    Something wrong

    February 20, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. jenn, philadelphia

    It appears that if there's a shutdown, many of you will blame Republicans. If there's a shutdown I want to hear how the Democrats justify more spending. There need to be cuts across the board, no government program and no government department should be off limits, including the military and the entitlement programs. This is what "shared" burden should mean.

    February 20, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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