Majority Leader Reid: U.S. government ‘headed’ for shutdown

Chris Moody Contributor
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With less than 40 hours until government funding expires, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that that the U.S. government is “headed” for a shutdown.

Reid said that if it weren’t for two Republican policy riders in the bill — one to withhold government funding from Planned Parenthood and another to limit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases — Republicans and Democrats would have already reached a deal.

“The numbers, Mr. President, are basically there,” Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said on the Senate floor Thursday. The “only thing holding up an agreement,” he added, is “ideology.”

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, told The Daily Caller after Reid’s speech that the senator’s comments were “not true” and that “there is no agreement on spending cuts or policy.”

Boehner met with Reid and President Obama in the White House Wednesday night, a meeting that ended late without a deal. Reid said that he left the meeting “cautiously optimistic” but said talks had fallen apart in the meantime.

“I am not nearly as optimistic, and that’s an understatement, as I was 11 hours ago,” he said.

The House is expected to pass another short-term extension of government funding Thursday that would keep the government running for one-week. Reid called the proposal, which includes $12 billion in cuts and funds the U.S. military in full through the current fiscal year, a “non-starter.”

“There are no more short-term extensions,” Reid said.

Taking to the Senate floor immediately after Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, tried to call his bluff.

“The bill that House Republicans will send over to the Senate today is nothing more than a smaller version of the larger bill that Democrats say that they want,” McConnell said. “The policy provisions in this bill are provisions that members of the Democrat leadership have already voted for, and that the president himself has previously signed into law.”

Digging in his own heels, McConnell said that Democrats could either pass the House bill that will make its way to the upper chamber over the next day or face a shutdown.

“So there are two options at this point: Democrats can either take up and pass this reasonable bill that falls well within the bounds of what their own leadership has defined as acceptable. Or shut down the government,” he said. “That’s it. That’s the choice.”

President Obama will meet with congressional leaders again Thursday afternoon at 1:00.

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