Harry Reid: GOP Forcing Shutdown Over Radical ‘Ideology’

April 7, 2011

(ChattahBox Political News)–The out of control House Republicans are prepared to shut down the federal government, unless they get their way with radical social wedge issues that would make our air and water dirtier and deprive poor women access to birth control and cancer screenings. The Republican 2011 budget measure, H.R. 1 contains more than 80 such poison pill amendments. Even if the House tea party freshmen allow their blubbering errand boy, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to agree to a deal on the amount of budget cuts, the right-wing riders would make a deal with Democrats impossible. And such a measure would not pass the Democratically controlled Senate, or survive President Obama’s veto pen. So, one can only conclude that the rabidly anti-government tea party Republicans have gone off the rails and they want a government shutdown. The GOP and their tea party base have become insane anarchists, drunk off of their libertarian rhetoric. The fact that innocent Americans would suffer, doesn’t even enter into the equation. And Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is starting to come to the same conclusion. After leaving another White House budget meeting this afternoon with Boehner, that went nowhere, Reid slammed Republicans for holding up the funding of our federal government “to make it harder, for example for a woman to get a cancer screening,” he said. When asked by reporters if he doubted Boehner was acting in good faith and in fact, wanted a shutdown, Reid answered, “Yes, I am.”

Yesterday a crowd of rowdy tea party protesters rallied outside of the Capitol demanding a government shutdown, unless lawmakers made draconian cuts to the federal budget. The crowd, bused in by the Koch funded fake grassroots group, Americans for Prosperity, shouted “Shut it down,””Shut it down,” over and over again. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) spoke before the teapartiers and vowed to shut down the government, unless the rider defunding Planned Parenthood passed into law.

Against this backdrop, Boehner keeps insisting he doesn’t want a government shutdown, but the tea party is pulling Boehner’s strings.

Reid derided the insanity of the Republicans’ demands.

“They’ve made the decision to shut down the government because they want to make it harder, for example for a woman to get a cancer screening,” Reid said. “We’re talking about issues relating to health of women. That’s one issue that’s held things up. The other issue is their wanting to change the air we breathe.”

Earlier in the day, Reid took to the Senate floor to take the House GOP to task for playing with fire, by tacking on ideological riders to a budget bill.

REID: Our differences are no longer over how much savings we get under government spending. The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology. […]

I’m sorry to say, Mr. President, that my friend, the Speaker, and the Republican leadership have drawn a line in the sand. … the two main issues that are holding this matter up are the choice of women, reproductive rights, and clean air. These matters have no place on a budget bill, Mr. President. This is a bill to keep the government running with dollars. They want to roll back the Clean Air Act. So if this government shuts down – and it looks like it’s headed in that direction – it’s going to be based on my friends in the House of Representatives, the leadership over there, focusing on ideological matters that have nothing to do with funding this government.

Talking Points Memo reports that the Democrats have agreed to a few of the riders, but won’t budge on decimating the EPA and defunding Planned Parenthood. It’s also believed that Boehner is taking it down to the wire to prove to his tea party base that he did all that he could.

“Without a failsafe, the question of a government shutdown rests on whether Reid, Boehner, and President Obama can reach an agreement on a six month spending bill in the next 36 hours. The best hope for that is if Boehner’s walking right up to the line, to prove to his base that he fought up until the last second for every penny and every possible policy rider he could get before the shutdown.”

‘”Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters he hopes that’s what’s happening.”‘

‘”I hope so,” Durbin said. “I don’t want to presume his motive or his strategy.”‘

“They’re working on a list of acceptable riders, and there are some,” Durbin said. He said the environment and abortion have become the stumbling blocks.”

Thing Progress reports that disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pulled the same stunt in 1995 that resulted in a disastrous government shutdown. Republicans, then, as now, tacked on a number of unrelated right-wing riders, including anti-environment and anti-abortion riders.

Some things never change.

Unless a budget deal can be reached within the next 24-hours, the government will be shut down by midnight on Friday.

Watch the Tea Party crowd demanding a shutdown:


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