Top-ranking Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer is urging Republican House Speaker John Boehner to ditch the Tea Party and join a coalition that includes Democrats to work around conservative lawmakers on spending cuts.
“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,” the New Yorker said in a written statement.
Schumer’s mischievous overture to Boehner comes as a still small, but burgeoning rebellion among House conservatives, including many in the freshman class, is endangering a three-week spending bill designed to avert government shutdown while Boehner negotiates a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama.
Conservatives want Boehner to take a harder line in negotiations with Democrats over spending cuts.
Schumer said conservative unease over another three-week spending bill shows a long-term deal between Republicans and Democrats may not be possible.
“Republicans’ decisions 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,” Schumer said.
Asked about Schumer’s remarks, a spokesman for Boehner sought to put the spotlight back on Democrats. “If he’s looking to criticize someone, Senator Schumer should buy a mirror. It is the Democrats who run Washington that have refused to provide any spending plan other than the status quo, and the status quo just isn’t acceptable to the American people,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.