Democrats and Republicans spar over possible government shutdown
February 22nd, 2011
03:47 PM ET
3 years ago

Democrats and Republicans spar over possible government shutdown

Washington (CNN) – With government funding set to run out in 10 days, and Congress on recess, Republican and Democratic congressional leaders sparred via press release Tuesday, blaming each other for steering the government toward a possible shutdown.

The sharp tone of the releases was in contrast to hopeful signs Sunday and Monday that the two sides were on a path to head off a disruptive shutdown that could affect a wide range of government services.

At issue is whether Democrats and Republicans will agree to a short term spending plan that would keep the government open after March 4th –when the current spending resolution expires–while they negotiate a longer-term bill for the remaining seven months of the fiscal year. Last week, House Republicans passed a longer-term measure that would cut more than $60 billion from a wide range of government programs. Democrats call those cuts too severe and want narrower reductions.

The first press release, emailed to reporters at 10:24am, was from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

“While House Republicans are hard at work passing measures to cut spending, grow the economy, and keep the government operating, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has yet to offer a plan and instead almost seems as though he’s hoping for a government shutdown to occur for political gain,” Cantor said.

At 12:17pm, Reid shot back.

Republicans “should stop drawling lines in the sand and come to the table to find a responsible path forward,” Reid said in a press release. “It would be the height of irresponsibility to shut down the government without any negotiations, as Republicans are threatening to do.”

For the first time, Reid said he has directed his chief of staff to begin talks with House Speaker John Boehner’s top aide on a longer-term spending bill. In the meantime, Reid said he would bring a bill to the Senate floor next week that would extend for 30 days government operations at existing funding levels – the very thing Republicans say they will not accept.

In a press release sent at 12:42pm, less than 30 minutes after Reid’s, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell weighed in. He called Reid’s proposal “unacceptable.”

“Washington Democrats can’t find a single dime of federal spending to cut, insisting on the status quo, even for a short-term spending bill,” McConnell complained.

At 1:32pm, Boehner issued a press statement saying, if needed, the Republican-controlled House would take up a short-term funding bill that would include at least some additional cuts beyond existing funding levels – they very thing Democrats say they will not accept.

A Boehner aide told CNN it is still unclear how much of a cut House Republicans will propose in the measure, but will likely decide by the end of this week.

Finally, at 3:30 p.m., Reid held a hastily organized conference call with reporters to argue that Republicans “have been very, very strident in saying it will be our way or no way.”

“We’re not asking for the government to be funded for the rest of the year without further cuts,” Reid said. “We’re saying, if we’re going to have our caucus accept further cuts, it has to be a negotiation.”


Filed under: Eric Cantor • Harry Reid • John Boehner • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. ConservaFascists

    "Washington Democrats can't find a single dime of federal spending to cut, insisting on the status quo, even for a short-term spending bill," McConnell complained.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    But $400 billion in tax cuts to the wealthy is good for the country. STFU. You FASCISTS party are trying to destroy the middle class and what's going on in Wisconsin is a prime example.

    February 22, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Democrats are not on the side of the American taxpayer. They are not on the side of the middle class taxpayer or the billionaire taxpayer. They are intent on driving government debt to $25 trillion as fast as possible.

    Hold your ground, Speaker Boehner. You have our support.

    February 22, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. gt

    here is a easy way to save a lot of money... stop those stupid holiday like president day.. columbus day...mlk....the federal works are the only ones who get off... what a waste of man hours....

    February 22, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. rodk

    The Republican's insist that the deficit is so important that we need to put thousands of middle class workers out of work during a deep recession and shut down the government in order to save $60 billion. If the deficit is that important then WHY did the Republican's insist on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%! That alone cost the government $690 billion. This is pure, unadulterated politics, The deficit is simply being used as a deceitful tool by the Republican's to finish off their goal of destroying what's left of the American middle class. Obvious to anyone with half a brain.

    February 22, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Thomas Patterson

    How about suspending salaries of the members of the House and Senate? Maybe then they could work together and quit acting like bickering children. Money seems to be the only motivator of our corrupt government "leaders".

    February 22, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. ConservaFascists

    The Bush tax cuts were meant to expire at the end of 2010 specifically because they weren't paid for. Why not call tax cuts what they really are? TAX CUTS ARE SPENDING BILLS!!! So if you want to talk about out of control spending Mitch, your party takes the cake.

    February 22, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. opalka10

    the only cuts the Republicans will even consider is anything that does NOT help those who need it most.
    If the spending helps the wealthier voters, they won't touch it.
    Case in point?......just cut all subsidies to oil companies. They don't need it.
    Boehner or McConnell won't bring it up.

    February 22, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    Cheney said,"Reagan proved deficits don't matter" . Unless Repubs. can use it as a new boogerman, replacing:flag-burning, prayer in schools, Mosque @ Ground Zero, gun confiscation, flag lapels, Socialized Medicine, Madra Law, Sleeper Cells,Gay Marriage, abortion, PBS, MLK Day, etc.,etc.

    February 22, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. DAVE

    republicans are about less. the average wage in 1985 was $33,000 in 2008 the average wage was $33,000 per person. supply side economics is nothing but a big failure in making life better in this country. the trickle down economy that was promised to be good for everyone has failed in its promise. the teachers in wisconsin are the first americans to fight back against 25 years of give backs by working americans. trickle down made people feel all warm and fuzzy at first now anybody with a brain can see that it has made people just wet, cold and smell bad. this got started with bush and the republicans when they started cutting funding to the states by the federal goverment which put all states in the red. even states that have been run by republicans who have non-union teachers have bad budget problems.

    February 22, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. E1atoM

    Thanx Repukes, the world is again laughing at the country that wants to be the world's policeman but can't get it together enough to avoid a government shutdown. Once again we are the laughing stock of the world and once again it happens when the Repukicans are in control of congress. Can anyone connect the dots here?

    February 22, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. SamG

    So it is ok to give the super rich billions of dollars, but not ok to help the unemployed try to get back on thier feet? or give the middle class a break?
    Republican: I want to cut all excess Pork spending(except to all my rich upper 5% friends)
    Democrat: I want to save the middle class. but I can't get anything done right now because I am dealing with this guy^
    Me: Oh for the love of kniggits stop acting like a bunch of kindergardeners fighting over a piece of candy, you were elected by the people you should be working to help ALL the people.

    If the government gets shut down by the republicans I will so be starting a youtube ranting blog/show.
    And my college funding will be in jeopardy. and my electricity, and basic health services and sewage, and alot of VITAL SERVICES will be shut down.
    Why can't washington grow a brain? The middle class is what supports this country and if you kill the middle class you kill America. This is simple economics, you learn this in high school why can't Republican Politcians apply this in real life?

    February 22, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Cutting taxes stimulates the economy by putting more dollars in your pocket...you choose what you spend it on and this grows the economy efficiently....as opposed to centralized government economic policies which we all know are about as efficient as the post office. In the long run....this increases government receipts due to the growth generated.

    Cutting spending is necessary when the government gets too big.....the problem is not that it doesn't receive enough money...the problem is it spends too much. The bureaucrats cannot be trusted to controll themselves...they exist primarily to perpetuate their existence...it is time to cut.

    February 22, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans have never been on the side of the middle class. That is why they made sure that billionaires, millionaires, big oil, big banks, Wall Street, and foreign corporations were taken care of. They refused to support any job creation bills, and now have turned their number one item to repealing women's constitutional reproductive rights.

    February 22, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Seriously?

    Let me get this straight. Reid directed his people to talk to Boehner's people. Are you kidding me? What a run around. Why don't these two (and I use the term figuratively) "gentlemen" sit down and hash out their differences. Take a committee of two or three others from your parties and sit down at a table and work this out. How childish that you can't even talk to each other without having to have gophers doing it for you. No wonder we are in the mess we are in.

    I didn't vote for Reid or Boehner's "people". These two morons were voted in, so they should have to do the work. And, they shouldn't be allowed to go to "recess" until their work is done. By work, I mean funding the government to prevent a shutdown.

    Do I need to come to Washington to show you idiots how to get a job done????

    February 22, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Rae

    Thomas Patterson-My thoughts EXACTLY.

    February 22, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Do any of you right wingnuts work? How can you write your Beckisms and Limbagger lies all day long?

    February 22, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. al in memphis

    We're okay with shutting down the portion of government that serves the people, but not okay with shutting down the spending benefiting large corporation. We all agree spending cuts and do it now. However, we did not have that approach with answering the question about who was going to pay for Bush tax cuts before they were approved. How about who was going to pay for the Iraq war before we invaded their country.
    Republican call it socialism when a country invest in its people, then the call it heroism when a country goes to war.

    February 22, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Spending our Way to Financial Collapse

    Yes, the Democrat's answer to our financial disaster is to just keep doing what we're doing, keep spending what we're spending, keep borrowing trillions from the Chinese to fund their insane spending. Hmmm... let me think... no thanks. I'd rather shut down the government NOW and save the country from sure disaster than let these insane Democrats run this country off the financial cliff into bankruptcy.

    February 22, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Rick in Phx

    Four and The Door

    Democrats are not on the side of the American taxpayer. They are not on the side of the middle class taxpayer or the billionaire taxpayer. They are intent on driving government debt to $25 trillion as fast as possible.

    Hold your ground, Speaker Boehner. You have our support.

    I'm an Independent and that makes no sense! ! ! Every single Republican President in my life time has out spent the Democratic Presidents. It's sad that everything is about politics now. The democrats were against extending the bush tax cuts (because that trickle down economics theory has been proven wrong to many times to count) but, they made a compromise. That's what most of us REAL (Independent) AMERICANS want. This mess has been decades in the making. Bush 2 wasn't the cause of this problem, though he didn't help matters. It started way before his presindency and, just as it has taken decades to cause the the over spending common sense sould let people know it's not gonna get fixed all at once but rather by cutting back slowly. Especially during a recession so, I for one am not behind Boehner. It's sad that EVERYTHING is politics now.

    February 22, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. Justathought

    If you ask me.......Both the Republicans and Democrats are bad...I dont really think that either party has the best interest of the US. Just like every American dont have the best interest for this country. Thats evident by some of these posts. I think its not going to be the love of this country that saves it instead its going to be the greed of its people added in with hate that tears it apart.

    February 22, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Jason

    Give tax breaks to the richest and bail out the banks then make the poor, infirm and middle class pay for it, so the gap between the rich and middle class has never been wider in american history but the right still want to make it wider....while they are getting sweet deals and their spouces are bringing in hundreds of thousands a year from those corporations and lobby groups they will continue to be owned body and soul by the corporations and the rich...you want fair play then tax those tax breaks away from the mulitimillionaires, then we'll talk about cutting back on middle earners benefits

    February 22, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Will there be a day... that politicians stop issuing press releases and actually start working.... that politicians stop playing political games with the lives and livelihood of so many Americans.... that politicians stop worrying about the next election and actually do what is right for the country.... that politicians realize that their term is finite... that politicians decisions should not be based on the amount of lobbyist or corporate money thrown to them.... that politicians will be able to raise taxes on the richest 2% of Americans, reduce some entitlement programs, reduce defense spending, and improve government efficiencies, all at the same time.... that politicians realize if the crazies on the left AND the crazies on the right hate your policies, more than likely that policy is correct for the American people.

    February 22, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Four and The Door: Why should I support the needs of a billionaire taxpayer? How does that create jobs? Industry is sitting on a trillion dollars worth of money they could be spending now: how does cutting PBS help create jobs? Can you explain what the grand strategy is, or is it just reactionary anger over seeing their cartoon world disappear?

    Speaker Boehner does not have the support of any class (except the deviant rich), and what will happen in 2012 to the GOP will make 2010 look like a walk in the park. Boehner will be Two and Done, and the President will make destroy whatever hapless, flat-earth worshipping fool the GOP puts up.

    February 22, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Jason

    The right held america to ransom to get those tax breaks for the rich and now we know how they were going to pay for it..by taking jobs away, taking pensions away, taking healthcare away, taking our futures away to give their rich donors more and more money, and the rich will give them a commission to their family and election campaigns....the most treasonous in american, the party of 1% byfleecing 99%

    February 22, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Memebers of the Republican Brotherhood, like Four and the Door, do not even have enough honor and respect for this country to speak the truth. Instead they parrot the daily rightwing fairytale, as told by their gods on FuxNews in an attempt to institute their regressive ideology which will surely drive America back to the Dark Ages (just look at what they did to the economy).

    You'd have to be a certifiable MORON to believe the [R] party is looking out for ther middle class taxpayer more than the [D] party. Look at the FACTS over the last decade. And for faux-patriots to promote an America without unions is so blatantly STUPID, so against all common sense and historical FACT, that it is abundantly clear to the rest of us that these lugnuts are anti-American vermin.

    February 22, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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