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,” CNN reports.
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.
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.