Schumer: Republicans 'clamoring' for government shutdown
February 20th, 2011
12:02 PM ET
3 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. Ray E. (Georgia)

    For 75 years the Democrats and Liberals played the Nero Card. Now they cry when the cold hard facts of their actions are finally exposed. Too many people want to live on easy street but don't want to pay for it. Rome has burned to the ground. There is nothing left. All the people that voted for this fiasco are dead. You are left holding the bag. Good luck.

    February 20, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Rdepontb

    Republican leadership has been taking the "take it or leave it" position since President Obama was elected. They bullied their way when they were in the minority with their all-too-skillful playing of the system. They are now trying to govern by fiat, from Wisconsin and Ohio to Washington, DC.

    It looks like it will come down to whoever wins the last-minute field goal of politics-a finger pointed right at the other party. Whoever is successful pointing last "wins" in the coming shutdown. Hooray?

    February 20, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Veritas

    Thats how the rethuglicans roll. I also feel we must be diligent so as not to let another election debacle (theft) occur. Theyre twisting information already to make it seem like the Presidents fault when its patently clear they want the shut down to stymie any further progress therefore making Mr. Obama essentially a lame duck prez for his last two years or as long as they can shut down.

    February 20, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  4. Rebekah

    We are all such fools. I say let's stop funding every damn program the Republicans want. Then when the jobs are not there let's see what happens. And when everyone is starving except the top 5% it will be their doors we kick in!!!

    February 20, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Dino

    Republicans want to shut down the government if they don't get their way. Absolute bad timing in this economy. Remember this when it's time to vote again, tell all your friends and family who don't vote or who don't know who to vote for.

    February 20, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. johnRJ08

    The Democrats have compromised, agreeing to cuts that are below the 2010 budget. They have demonstrated a willingness to listen and compromise. The Republicans, on the other hand, have put themselves in a corner with their promises to the Tea Party and far-right elements of the GOP. They can't even look like they're willing to compromise, so they have to attack and take a hard line. Therefore, it is ridiculous to claim that Democrats are the ones who want a government shutdown. The side that is intransigent will be responsible for the highly negative impact of the government shutdown. John Boehner, who one week ago was fighting for funding of a jet engine that even the Pentagon didn't want, has shown a total inability to lead and gross hypocrisy throughout this debate.

    February 20, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. dudh

    This is a Tea party shutdown of government, no doubt, part of the rightwing Tea party movement to take away people's rights and freedoms. Time for the American people to stand against this power grab.

    February 20, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  8. willie floyd

    Reps.-"the love of money is the root of all evil". They should give this some serious thought.

    February 20, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. Jennifer

    Are oil subsidies right? No. Should we be paying them? No.

    If we withdraw them, will our gas prices and energy prices go through the roof? Yes.

    These subsidies are something that have to be dealt with, but simply stripping them out of the current budget isn't the solution. Get to work exploiting our own natural fuel resources, bring down the cost of energy substantially, and THEN remove the subsidies – at that point, it won't have much of an effect at all.

    February 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Lou

    Well, the republicans have done their job on me, I have quit spending on anything but necessities since a goverment shutdown would take away most of my income(social security and military retirement). Instead of buying a new car which I need I will put my money in savings so I can save my house during a government shutdown. These republican clowns have no idea of the unintended consequences of their actions. If the government shuts down, everyone in congress should not be paid and should not receive retroactive pay for the time the government is shut down. Senator Boxer proposed a bill like this but I thinki it failed. Recall all the republicans and get some adults who are educated in congress. My republican congress woman ( who I did not vote for) has not mentioned the fact that her family farm lives off government subsidies that she will not favor cutting. Welcome to third world America.

    February 20, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. David Wise

    @ Terry, VA

    And where do you propose we get these jobs at terry? Considering the high unemployment rate that Bush left us with there are not enough jobs for everyone to have one. I would be more than willing to take yours though since you seem to think its so easy to get a new one.

    February 20, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. PalmReader

    GOPers hell bent on forcing 3/4 of the American population to suffer as much economic hardship under their conservative ideological control is becoming more and more obvious. Wonder how much more hardship Americans are willing to suffer under Boehner and Company's leadership? Seems as if American exceptionalism is now being dictated not by how far one sets their sights financially, but rather how much one is expected to give up.

    February 20, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Inmyopinion

    No different than Wisconsin Democrat senators and Wisconsin government employees and Unions shutting down cities and schools in order to get what they want. Democrats are no better than Republicans, Wisconsin senators proved it by running away and allowing government employees to bring cities, schools to a stop.

    February 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. CDD

    Shut it down! I doubt if much less work will get done and that should include the congressional payroll. At $100,000,000. 00 annually there would be immediate savings. And while we are at it lets cut those congressional salaries that they collectively bargained for themselves. I always thought that must have been a real easy negotiations. But if we cut them by 2 thirds they would still be making over $50,000. a year which is more than the average worker in the US. When we are done with that we can go to work on the congressional benefit package. I understand they work under a system of socialized health care and we can't have that... We could make some big progress on budget cutting and never leave the capitol...

    February 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Annie, Atlanta

    Anyone else think it's time to cut these clowns' salaries in half, make them pay for their own transportation expenses, including to foreign countries, as well as their own "government run" health insurance? And while we're at it, cut their staff. How many aides does one congressman need anyway? Can't they read their own proposals, or at the very least shouldn't they know what's in them in the first place. I see a lot of government waste on Capitol Hill alone. And cut the Military Industrial Complex in half. That alone would solve our deficit problems, which only seem to be a problem whenever a Democrat is in the White House.

    February 20, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. Annie, Atlanta

    @Think Again – good luck with Four and the Door. You're running up against a brick wall – been there, done that.

    February 20, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. jancloclo

    they are here again, after what republi destrayal did to us 8 years. sorry my people. there are here with their trick again. no what dem does ,they are no good except repub. ok

    February 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    @Four and the Door – I didn't know Republicans were sent to Washington to legislate women's reproductive rights. Thanks for the info.

    February 20, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Rationalist

    The essential point that people continue to ignore, or just play dumb about, is that spending is only half the problem. The deficit and debt issues facing America are due to overspending yes, BUT, it is also due to the fact that tax revenues are too low to sustain the government. Tea Baggers and the GOP love to complain about that Corporate Tax Rate, but what they neglect to say is that most of the biggest corporations pay next to nothing in taxes because of the various breaks and loopholes. The Country could see a huge increase in tax revenue if most of these loopholes were closed, but to make it fair on businesses the rate could be lowered after the loopholes are closed because Corporations would be forced to actually pay taxes. Also, ALL of the Bush Tax Cuts should expire on every single tax bracket. thus returning tax rates to 2000 levels. It is not going to hurt the economy (the increase during the Clinton Administration proved that) and it is not going to hamper job creation because the people who benefit the most from those tax cuts have certainly not created jobs since we had those cuts, but they have invested overseas plenty.

    February 20, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Marcus

    terry, va – Stop the name calling and perhaps your statement will hold some water.
    'Actually I don't give a damn if the welfare programs go away. Get a job sorry boys and girls !!!'
    Besides being the pinacle of the GOP's 'Me, myself and I' policy, your words shows a complete ignorance on what exactly the proposed cuts by the GOP will take effect.
    Here's a hint, SAFETY & SECURITY (Not just at least maintain the numbers of cops on the streets, instead of cutting it, but also security and safety in what you eat & drink, the remedies you might need to use, the travels by air, etc...)

    February 20, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. roba0001

    Senator Schumer seems to want to continue to spend The Peoples' money as if it were his own which it isn't.

    February 20, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. Ignorance makes me sick

    Thank you, ThinkAgain!

    Why are Republicans so willing to forgive and forget about G.W.'s unjust and wasteful spending (oil subsidies and unfunded wars) while condemning spending for EVERYTHING that is actually great about our nation? They want the unemployed to perish. They want wages for working class Americans to remain below the poverty line. They want health care to remain out of reach for the poor. They want education decimated in hopes that enough people remain ignorant enough to believe their media blitz of lies and attacks. It's sad, especially because their tactics work at the expense of American prosperity.

    Here's an idea. The median household income in the U.S. is about 50,000 per year. Our 535 members of congress make 3.5 TIMES that amount, which puts them really high on the economic food chain. Cutting the salary of our elected Congress to the median income of American families would save the government over 65 million each year. Put your money where your mouth is, Republicans. Try living like the rest of us do, and then tell us about your spending cuts.

    February 20, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. ficheye

    Now we find out that Rumsfeld wouldn't have gone into Iraq if he knew there weren't any WMD's. How much money did that cost us? Billions. This is an overt admission by that regime that the war was not necessary. Even Bush has admitted the same thing. There were no WMD's. And that's the reason we went. How many redneck war mongers on these blogs argued incessantly for war based on made up information and lies? The real shame is that we have to share this country with idiots like that. How much money did you cost us, fools? Enough to run welfare, college loans, etc, etc, for 20 years. It is truly disgusting how ignorant people are.

    February 20, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Jilli

    If there was any facts or logical reasoning behind the republican cuts, I could perhaps go along, but there isn't. There's ideology without the benefit of foresight in seeing the end result of their cuts. There's also no plan for the future of this countrys economy and economic sustainability. We could have employed 7th graders to do the work that the republicans have done. I just hope the adults step up and stop the foolishness and the pandering to the lowest common denominator. This is just a political game to the republicans – they're only looking to the next election, not the future. Yeah, they're great at campaigning, but their attempts at leadership – particularly fiscal leadership have been historical disasters.

    February 20, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. Hannibal7

    The government either cuts the spending of shuts down because it can't afford to spend money it does not have. The whining left cannot come to terms with the fact that their social programs and nanny state government make work jobs cannot be paid for. Even if the government were to tax the so called rich at 100% of their income you could not close the gap. More frightening yet is that with all the additional Obama debt and non-stimulus liberal waste, if you taxed 100% of the people at 100% of their income we still cannot close the budget GAP, let alone barely service the debt. The Dems won’t hear it. The dems won't discuss it. They would rather deny the facts and print money and spend their kids and grandkids money and double foreign aid, unbelievable {Thats Obama platform}. Unions and Dems just don't get it... They have milked the system beyond dry and still want everyone else to carry their water. Schumer is one of the worst.. remember when he said, "People don't mind the Porky things" in reference to pork barrel government spending ...

    February 20, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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