Senate Dem Leaders: GOP is ‘blindly swinging a meat ax to the budget’

Chris Moody Contributor
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Senate Democrat leaders warned against government shutdown again Thursday, and said there is no way they would accept the Republican proposal of cutting $100 billion from President Obama’s 2011 budget request.

“We know we’re not going to get everything we want,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate. “They’re not going to get everything they want.”

Senate Democrats just ended their annual retreat in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they outlined a budget plan to go head-to-head against the Republicans proposal.

Even with Democrats out of the picture, Republicans have had their hands full dealing with members of their own caucus lately. Bowing to pressure from the more conservative members of the caucus this week, Republican leaders have instructed the Appropriations Committee to find no less than $100 billion in cuts, a departure from a previous proposal with fewer cuts.

“We are willing to negotiate with Republicans on common sense cuts that reduce the deficit. But right now they’re having a hard enough time negotiating with each other,” Schumer said. “The infighting among House Republicans is causing gridlock that could risk a government shutdown.”

To avoid such a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats must come to an agreement over how to fund the government before the most recent temporary stopgap measure expires on March 4.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would not say if the House Republican proposal would be dead on arrival but did say they would need to find “something that’s reasonable.” He added that Democrats would outline their own spending proposal “in the coming days.”

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