Senate Democratic Moderates Urging Boehner to Avert Government Shut Down
Some Senate moderates are urging House speakers John Boehner to avert a government shut down. But in the current hyperpartisan climate will this letter force him to dig in his heels even more? The Politico reports:
A group of 16 moderate Democratic senators sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Wednesday urging him to “resolve” the current funding debate and avert an “irresponsible” government shutdown.
The outreach effort, spearheaded by Democrat Mark Udall of Colorado, comes in the 11th hour of round-the-clock negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Boehner, who is trying to balance the interests of a diverse Republican caucus
“The federal government and Congress should be single-mindedly focused on supporting economic development and job growth. But some members within your caucus continue to seek sustained confrontation and are interested in shutting down the government as a misguided sign that they are serious about debt reduction,” the senators wrote. “Knowing that a bipartisan deal is within reach to cut tens of billions of dollars from current funding levels, it would be irresponsible to shut down the government and punish our constituents solely to assert a political point.”
The group of Democratic co-signers included: Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper and Chris Coons of Delaware, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mark Begich of Alaska, Jon Tester of Montana, Mark Warner and Jim Webb of Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
The senators emphasized that a government shutdown could harm the fragile economic growth and would “distract” Congress from focusing on a larger, “more comprehensive bipartisan approach” to debt reduction.
Meanwhile there is no White House meeting to continue the White House based talks to avert a shutdown. But CBS asks: is this a good sign?
Mr. Obama told reporters yesterday that if Congress “can’t sort it out, I want them back [at the White House] tomorrow.”
A senior White House official told CBS News this morning that there has been “some progress” since then and a decision on whether there will be another White House meeting will be made later today, based on how the congressional negotiations proceed.
Scheduling a meeting wouldn’t be easy, however: Boehner is scheduled to meet this morning with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and Mr. Obama is slated to leave for Pennsylvania and New York around Noon and won’t return until around 9 p.m.
On ABC’s “Good Morning America” today, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said it’s a good sign there’s no White House budget meeting scheduled today.
“[It] shows that there is a view that these talks are making some progress, but I’d still be worried particularly because they keep moving the goal post back,” Schumer said.
Reid and Boehner continued negotiating yesterday evening, but Schumer suggested the talks are held up because Boehner can’t get his Tea Party members in line.
“The Tea Party just continues to pull Speaker Boehner further back and back and back,” he said. “They are the people who say they don’t want compromise. They are the people who say they relish a shutdown. And the bottom line is if he can resist them, not give them their way on everything, I think we can have an agreement, and that is why there is a glimmer of hope.”
If — as appears likely — the Tea Party is what’s keeping Boehner from reaching the kind of compromise that in decades past responsible leaders would eventually sign onto, then the letter by Democratic moderates could cause him to remain inflexible since he would not want to appear as if he is “caving.” “Caving” is now the word used on the left and right for what was once called “compromise.”