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US Senate Democrats Hammer Boehner as Shutdown Blame Game Heats Up

Oct. 3, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By JOHN T. BENNETT   |   Comments
Congress Still Divided As Government Shutdown Ente
US Senate Democrats are heaping blame on House Speaker John Boehner over the government shutdown. (Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are turning up the heat on House Speaker John Boehner, blaming the Ohio Republican for a budget stalemate that shuttered the federal government.

New York’s Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, on Tuesday sharply attacked Boehner — turning a policy dispute into a personal affront that shows just how divided the two parties remain on budgetary issues.

“Now Speaker Boehner is an accomplice in the tea party shutdown and everyone knows it. So, he’s trying desperately to wriggle out of the hot seat by passing one-off bills and making half-hearted efforts to reopen pieces of the government,” Schumer said.

That was timid compared to what came next.

“Speaker Boehner’s in this position because, sadly, he’s become a puppet with Ted Cruz pulling the strings. When Sen. Cruz [R-Texas] told Speaker Boehner to take up a crusade to defund Obamacare, the speaker did it.”

Democrats were not done, however.

Around the same time, the Democratic Policy and Communications Center floated a video and a list the group says shows the Senate-approved continuing resolution (CR) would pass the House.

Atop the communications center’s web page, which it tweeted out, was this script-flipping headline: “Republicans Call On Boehner To Pass Clean CR.”

The House has passed several CRs that would re-open the federal government if the Senate approved one of those measures and the president signed it. But each one contains language de-funding or delaying President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

With the two chambers passing different temporary spending measures, the federal government shut down on Tuesday. There is no clear path toward a deal that would end the impasse.

The communications center put its researchers to work, compiling a list of 24 House Republicans who support passing the Senate’s CR. The list includes several House Armed Services Committee members, including Seapower subcommittee Chairman Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia.

Also listed is House Appropriations Defense subcommittee Chairman Bill Young of Florida. The communications center document cites a Tampa Bay Times report that Young told Boehner to pass a CR excluding Obamacare language.

“Let’s get on to legislating,” Young told the speaker, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The video shows House Republican Deputy Whip Tom Cole of Oklahoma being asked in a television interview whether the Senate’s continuing resolution would pass by a “fairly strong majority” if it got a vote in the House.

Cole’s response: “I think that’s actually a fair read.”

The attacks continued Thursday, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., saying Boehner "lacks the courage" to stand up to a small group of "anarchists" in his caucus.

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