Senate Democratic leaders “accused House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) of issuing an ultimatum that could lead to a shutdown of the federal government early next month,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) said Mr. Boehner’s comments were “unfortunate.” The No. 2 Senate Democrat said Mr. Boehner was, in effect, declaring that “unless you play by our rules, we’re going to shut the government down.”
At a news conference earlier Thursday, Mr. Boehner said he wouldn’t agree to another temporary measure to extend funding the federal government at the current level, upping the stakes in the debate over federal spending. “Read my lips: We’re going to cut spending, ” he said.
The latest extension expires March 4, and Congress is trying to pass legislation that would fund the federal government through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said Mr. Boehner’s comments indicated that he “doesn’t believe he has the votes to avoid a government shutdown, unless his members get their way on all of their demands.”