Reacting to a recent statements from conservative Republicans, who say they will oppose all stop-gap efforts to avoid government shutdowns, the Democrats’ point man on messaging and policy says Tea Party-backed Republicans would rather trigger a crisis than compromise on domestic discretionary spending cuts.
In a statement sent my way, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is now urging House Speaker John Boehner to dismiss the conservatives in his party, and forge a compromise with moderate Republicans and Democrats on a long-term spending package.
“We agree that running the government two weeks at a time is not good for anyone, but it is the far right that is preventing any compromise on a long-term budget,” Schumer says.
These Republicans’ decision to abandon the three-week proposal negotiated by their own party’s leadership suggests that Tea Party lawmakers are unwilling to accept anything short of the extreme cuts in the House budget, even if it risks a shutdown. This is a bad omen that shows how difficult it will be for Speaker Boehner to bring the Tea Party along for any long-term compromise. It is becoming clear that the path to a bipartisan budget deal may not go through the Tea Party at all. In order to avert a shutdown, Speaker Boehner should consider leaving the Tea Party behind and instead seek a consensus in the House among moderate Republicans and a group of Democrats.
In a Monday op-ed, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote “I will no longer support short-term budget plans. While attempts at new spending reductions are commendable, we simply can no longer afford to nickel-and-dime our way out of the dangerous debt America has amassed.”
Joining Rubio is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chair of the Republican Study Committee, whose office announced Monday that he, too, will vote “no” Tuesday on legislation to keep the government funded into April.
Republicans, with the help of Democrats, will probably have the votes to pass one more short-term continuing resolution this week. After that, things get much murkier. Defections will grow, and a Democrat-driven spending plan may be the only way out for Boehner, if he truly wants to avoid a shutdown.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.