Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) issued the following press release statement today “announcing his plans to introduce a clean, short-term Continuing Resolution that will give Democrats and Republicans time to negotiate a plan to responsibly cut government spending.”
“Speaker Boehner should stop drawing lines in the sand, and come to the table to find a responsible path forward that cuts government spending while keeping our communities safe and our economy growing. It would be the height of irresponsibility to shut down the government without any negotiations, as Republicans are threatening to do. A shutdown could send our fragile economy back into a recession, and mean no Social Security checks for seniors, less funding for border security and no paychecks for our troops.
“To avoid a shutdown and give us time to negotiate a responsible path forward, I have asked Sen. Inouye, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to prepare a clean Continuing Resolution that I can bring to the floor next week. Since this bill is intended to fund vital services like Social Security, our military and border security, it should have no legislation or riders tied to it. This bill will include the $41 billion in budget cuts that Democrats and Republicans agreed to in December, and will keep the government running for 30 days while both sides can negotiate a common-sense, long-term solution. I have asked my chief of staff, David Krone, to begin negotiations with Speaker Boehner’s chief of staff, Barry Jackson, to craft a long-term continuing resolution that cuts waste and excess, while protecting the initiatives that keep us safe, put Americans back to work and keep our economy on the right track.
“It is time to drop the threats and ultimatums, and work together on a path forward. I am asking Speaker Boehner to simply take the threat of a government shutdown off the table, and work with us to negotiate a responsible, long-term solution.”
According to the Washington Post, the “$41 billion in cuts mentioned by Reid is based on President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, which was never enacted.”
The short-term resolution would actually keep the government funded at current levels.
Speaker Boehner has said that if the “Senate and the House can’t reach agreement on a bill that reduces spending for the rest of the year, the GOP-controlled House will not agree to maintain current spending levels past March 4, when the current continuing resolution expires.”
“When we say we’re going to cut spending — read my lips — we’re going to cut spending,” said Boehner, R-Ohio, during his weekly news conference, echoing former President George H.W. Bush’s famous "no new taxes" promise at the 1988 Republican National Convention.
Boehner later explained, “I am not going to move any kind of short-term CR at current levels.”
Meanwhile, ABC News has this response from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY):
The Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell quickly blasted Reid’s proposal as “unacceptable” because it would entail “keeping bloated spending levels in place.”
“The American people spoke loud and clear: stop the Washington spending spree and bring down the debt. Yet 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 said in a statement. “But keeping bloated spending levels in place and, predictably, proposing even more tax increases, is simply unacceptable. Washington has to stop the spending increases and start shrinking the ruinous federal debt. That’s the key to getting the economy back on track and creating the conditions that will lead to private-sector job growth.”