The Corner

GOP Leaders: Parties Still Split on Spending, Talks Not Going Well

Earlier today, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said on NBC’s Morning Joe that lawmakers are “making some progress” in negotiations over a budget compromise for the remainder of the fiscal year. “[T]he good news is there’s been progress made on the number,” Schumer said. “We’ve moved up from our $51 billion in cuts*, they’re moving down, and we’re getting closer on the number,” Schumer said.

* This is a lie. See here, here, here, here and here. House Republicans passed a bill to cut $61 billion. Senate Democrats (42 of the 53, anyway) voted for, but failed to pass, a bill to cut $4.7 billion.

This afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) released a statement that strongly refuted Schumer’s prognosis. “Senator Schumer’s comments this morning that the negotiations on a long term solution to fund the government for the remainder of the year are going well are completely far-fetched,” Cantor said. “Leader Reid, Senator Schumer and the White House continue to abandon their responsibility to get our fiscal house in order by negotiating off of the status quo and refusing to offer any sort of serious plan for how to cut spending.”

Cantor ended by with a warning about who would be responsible in the event of a government shutdown: “If Senators Reid and Schumer insist on shutting down the government because they want to protect every last dollar and cent of federal spending then that will be on their hands.”

Boehner released a similar statement, slamming Democrats for failing to produce a “credible” plan:

It has now been 34 days since the House passed H.R. 1 to keep the government running through September and make the spending cuts economists say are needed to end the uncertainty facing job creators. At no point in the 34 days since the House acted have the Democrats who run the Senate and the White House put forward a credible, long-term plan to resolve their budget mess. Instead, Washington Democrats continue to downplay the severity of their budget mess, and the uncertainty it’s causing job creators in America. We have been ready to do the people’s work, but we weren’t sent here to negotiate with ourselves  Many questions remain, starting with: when it comes to cutting spending and keeping the government running, where are Washington Democrats? If they have a plan, what is it? If Democrats don’t have a plan, do they intend to shut down the government because they can’t agree among themselves? The status quo is unacceptable, and right now that is all Washington Democrats are offering.

This constitutes a slight uptick in the rhetoric on the GOP side, and comes in the wake of mini revolt within the party that saw 54 freshman and conservative Republicans vote against party leaders on a short-term spending resolution (more on that here). The resolution passed in the end, but it expires on April 8. Looks like the two sides still have a lot of ground to make up when members return to Capitol Hill next week.

 

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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