Senate Democrats again warn of government shutdown
February 11th, 2011
04:22 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate Democrats again warn of government shutdown

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders organized a conference call with reporters Friday to pound away at one of their central political messages - Republicans are risking a government shutdown over spending differences.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, cited comments from House Republican Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, quoted in a CNN.COM story, saying it is a "possibility" that the fight over spending cuts could lead to a government shutdown.

Simpson, a senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, also said "we're going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen."

Still, Democratic leaders pounced.

"We are willing to meet the Republicans in the middle on cutting spending but they keep lurching to the right, and this infighting is causing delays that will take these negotiations right up to the deadline and a government shutdown and that seems to be exactly what Republicans want," said Schumer.

Conservatives are forcing House GOP leaders to cut more spending this year than they had planned, in order to live up to the Republican pledge to cut $100 billion in spending before the end of the year.

It was already going to be hard to negotiate whatever spending cuts come out of the House with the Democratic led Senate. With even deeper cuts, it will be more difficult to come to an agreement on a spending bill. The current government funding bill expires on March 4th.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor hit back at the Democratic senators, saying their statements "are akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater and only serve as a distraction from the fact that Democrats aren't willing to work with us to cut spending and create jobs."

"If we want to get our economy growing again so that Americans can get back to work, it's time for both political parties to stop the scare tactics and get serious. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the leadership in the Senate is there yet," said Cantor.

If negotiations over the spending bill are not complete by March 4th, Congress could always avoid a government shut down by passing another short term measure – known as a continuing resolution – to keep the government running.

In response to a question by CNN, both Reid and Schumer said they would reluctantly support a short term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

"I think it would be really not good for this country to have a series of short CR's [continuing resolutions] but we will do everything we can do to stop a government shutdown. What the American people want now, what the business community wants now is certainty," said Reid.

House GOP leadership aides told CNN it was premature to say whether short term measures to keep the government running could pass the Republican led House, but they could face resistance from conservatives.

Meanwhile, Senate Democratic leaders could hardly contain their glee about the tough time House GOP leaders have had this week coming up with a spending measure that satisfies newly elected conservatives.

"There is a mad rush to the far right on the House side right now. The House leadership seems to be unable to stand up to their freshmen conservatives on either the drastic level of cuts they want or their desire to shut down the government to get their way," said Schumer.

Filed under: Congress • Senate Democrats
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    How can you explain a global economic meltdown to a republican who is not smarter than a fifth grader?

    February 11, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. Just sayin

    If it will stop them from spending more money... it might be a good thing! 😉

    February 11, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Darth Vadik, CA

    I can tell who the people with Liberal persuasion are just by looking at the quality of the writing posts....

    ...that and the Conservatives, besides sounding dumb and very not funny, only have 3 talking points that they parrot over and over and over and over, the only difference is that misspell them differently every time...must be that Alabama/Kentucky/South Carolina home schooling at its best....

    February 11, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. New Age Independant

    Perhaps Democrat leaders could start by doing their job and work to cut spending instead of campaigning in front of cameras...

    February 11, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    And, of course, the GOP, led by Beaker, will yet again blather some trite nonsense abotu "the only ones talking about a shutdown are the Dems." Oh yeah? steve King, at CPAC, quite literally described his plan as tell Obama that unless he agrees to axe the self-enacting appropriations contained in the health care reform bill (i.e., mandatory spending), the GOP will simply refuse to pass new legislation to fund the government, which runs out of funds on March 4, 2011.

    Raise your hand if you're ready to stop receiving your SS checks and being refused any healh care treatment because Medicare reimbursements dried up...all because you're just that scared and angry about a black dude being POTUS. YAAAAAAY!!!!! Screw grandma, I'm p-ssed!!!! Or how about all those families whose hardworking breadwinners will be furloughed from their government jobs? Who needs their mail delivered on time, anyway? Hopefully, it'll be the neighbors house that burns down, not yours, right? Or the water in the next town over that gets polluted? Or their investment and retirement money that gets played with and destroyed? Let's jsut cross our fingers and hope it's everyone else who gets screwed by that kind of behavior and maybe it'll magically be nobody.

    February 11, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. gt

    count on harry to spend money we dont have...yuca mnt, and now he wants a super train form california to the casinos in vegas.... hell yea ,,, shut it down..

    February 11, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. Irma in North Carolina

    If these republican jokers shut down the goverment, it wont look very good for them for 2012. Who does Cantor think he is saying that the Democrats wont work with them, when for two years all he has ever said is NO. Hope the american people remember this.

    February 11, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "If it will stop them from spending more money... it might be a good thing!"

    Roger that.

    Each successive Congress has a term of two years. Maybe things would be better if we arranged it so that they were normally in session only once in that two years.

    February 11, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. GOP = Greed Over People

    Yes, you GOP cons have already brought America to the edge of the financial abyss once after 8 years of the shrub, so now, keep talking about shutting down the government by not coming up with a budget, and you cons will be responsible for pushing the U.S. into the abyss.

    Shut down our government by not coming to grips with the 2011, that is a domestic issue and will only harm us, and since "we" voted these morons in again, we deserve the pain we will endure.

    But worry not, the GOP has a domestic agenda for "America to fail" and that will be complete if the government shuts down during a recovery from the worst recession since the depression. The cascading ripple effect of unemployment will make the depression figures look like the "good ol' days".
    The GOP can then hoist the "Mission Accomplished" banner high over the shattered remains of America!

    February 11, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. wenol7

    Come on! where to cut spending? lets stop trying to fly to planet who gives a crap. that should save a few billion. closing a post office in rural america is a lazy solution.

    February 11, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "How can you explain a global economic meltdown to a republican who is not smarter than a fifth grader?"

    Give them an ice cream cone, then punch them in the face and slap the ice cream out of their hand and step on it and tell them they'll get another one as soon as they're wiling to accept a smaller, less tastey know, just like the rich and corporations do to the middle-class through their GOP lackeys via cyclical recessions to make the middle-class willing accept the same or less pay and benefits for their jobs once "the jobs come back."

    February 11, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  12. Obama/Mubericbegone

    May be we can learn from Egypt. Shut Down the Government and regain freedom.

    February 11, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Obama/Mubericbegone

    Life revolves around the individual CITIZEN we dont need the Government to survive.

    February 11, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Bob in PA

    Let's forget about the shutdown – lets talk about GM bonuses being paid while they still owe 27 billion to the taxpayers.

    February 11, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Jib76

    Wow what great timing the Republicans and Tea Party members have! The entire Middle East from North Africa to Pakastan is rising up and they don't want to pay for it. What a bunch of Know-Nothing Neo-Nazi's! They don't want to pay taxes because they are a buch of Tax Cheats or Greedy Rich people and Business CEO's. And look at their plan for job creation: ship jobs overseas. Then you have the gun-lovers amonst them and their "Right of Revolution!" They want to have an armed rebellion against our government. That makes them traitors, treacherous treasonour traitors! Maybe we should remember how Ronald Reagan gave his first presidential campaign speech in Philadelphia Mississippi where three civil rights workers were murdered in the 1960's. Reagan said he was all for "States Rights:" that's weakening our federal government by shutting it down the way Newt Gingrich (House Speaker) did in the 1990's, that's the "Right of Revolution." The Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy want to destroy America the way that Big Business amost destoryed the world economy with $670 trillion in credit default swaps that were not worth the paper they were printed on. This is why the Republicans and Tea Party members always "short" America, always bet againist it.

    February 11, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I do not believe I have ever read a dumber rant than the one who is posting @ OBAMA . . . How on Earth could any human being be as ignorant to facts as this idiot. Taxes are the lowest in 50 years, were are fighting two Bush republican unfunded wars, we are adding to the deficit and debt with the Bush/republican tax cuts for the wealthy, a Bush republican unfunded drug program, an unfunded Bush republican TARP program all financed with borrowing from China, Japan, the Saudis and more.

    February 11, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Benjamin

    Bush and the Republicans almost drove the US into a depression and now when Obama and the Democrats are trying to get us out of that hole the Repubs want to shut down the government. Do Republicans hate the US and its people or what? 'We have met the enemy and they are us.'

    February 11, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The time is coming for the Beckerheads to face reality, and STFU.

    February 11, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    if you are spending too much, you need to shut down, and figure out how to solve the problem.

    February 11, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Mike Dallas

    "Democrats aren't willing to work with us to cut spending and create jobs."

    Work with me Cantor, as I must be a bit slow.

    What JOBS did the failed repeal of the HCR law create?

    Repeal of the HCR would ADD 230 billion of SPENDING to the deficit according to the CBO.

    What JOBS did the failed anit-abortion bill create? Oh, yeah, all those peeping toms looking into women's uterus(or is it uterui?) to see if a zygote was in there.

    Guess you lost some spy JOBS by failing to extend the "Patriot Act".

    Oh yeah, it is the Dems fault that there has NOT been any focus on jobs in the House, you hypocritical moron.

    February 11, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. NC

    Vote for the Republican in 2012.....End this liberal spending spree.....

    February 11, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Since THEY control the Senate and Whitehouse, THEY are just as responsible as anybody if it does shut down."

    That's so wrong it's scary. The House has exclusive power to initiate revenue bills and is responsible for passing the budget and the Senate cannot originate appropriations bills or bills authorizing the expendiure of federal funds....even when it tries to do so, the House simply has the power to refuse to consider it. Thus, it is the GOP with first crack at this. If they decide to use their majority in the House to pass a budget or appropriations bills they know will be vetoed or won't make it through the Senate, because they irresponsibly defunded all sorts of important regulatory agencies or attempted to hold the entire government hostage by slipping in a complete defunding of the health care reform system, then it is indeed the GOP's fault for forcing a shutdown of the government. If they truly want to pass a budget and fund an operational government, then they can't just crayon a bunch of ideological nonsense onto a napkin and hand it to Obama and the Senate, then refuse to budge and pretend it's everyone else's fault.


    February 11, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "CUT government until the expenses match the income. This is how businesses are run. "

    Name me a business that has fixed expenses and cuts its revnue BEFORE cutting its expenses.

    Now, tell the class what the GOP did in 2001 and 2003 by giving massive inequitable tax cuts to the top 2% of ultra-wealthy people in this country.

    February 11, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. Katie

    Go ahead republicans, shut down the government, it worked soooooo well for you the last time you did it.

    Why on earth do people trust the republicans with fiscal issues? Every republican president since eisenhower has at least doubled the deficit – that's fact folks. Republicans aren't fiscal conservatives – their negligently reckless with our tax dollars. Now their budget will strip funding for programs that benefit the working class, but the top 2% and their double-dip tax cuts that we couldn't afford and corporations will continue on their gravy train.

    February 11, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  25. David

    If the GOP is so willing, why are they not cutting the extra engine for the F-16, that the pentagon does not want. I will tell why, it is in there own state. So stop the crap of saying you are doing something, like the so called smoke screen you put up, and walk the walk. The GOP is not willing to make cuts on wasted programs that benefit there own state. same old crap in DC, just a different party spreading the crap and there own self-interest. thought GOP wanted to do want the American people voted you into office for. does anyone in DC have any idea what is good for this country, let alone what the American people want them to do? NO!

    February 11, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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