Meanwhile, Senate Republicans believe the talks are moving ahead but at a slow pace, according to senior aides who requested anonymity to speak about their internal deliberations. Not enough “big decisions” have been made for leaders to feel confident they can meet the April 8 deadline, according to one aide.
Complicating that deadline are the new rules that the House imposed at the start of the new Congress, which require a bill to be publicly unveiled 72 hours before any consideration on the House floor.
If Republicans commit to keeping that pledge, they would need to have a deal completed and a bill drafted by the night of April 5 to vote on the legislation the evening of April 8, sending it to the Senate — where procedural hurdles could further delay consideration for a few days.
This has prompted many senior congressional aides, in both parties, to say they need a resolution keeping the government open for just a few more days — or else a brief shutdown of the federal government will be inevitable.
The tensions became public Friday evening following a remark that morning by Schumer on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “some progress” was being made in the talks.
That prompted a quick succession of statements Friday evening by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Boehner, all of whom denounced Schumer’s comments and accused Democrats of intending to cause a government shutdown.
Cantor described Schumer’s remarks as “completely far-fetched” and argued that Schumer, Reid and the White House “continue to abandon their responsibility to get our fiscal house in order by negotiating off of the status quo and refusing to offer any sort of serious plan for how to cut spending.” Statements from Boehner and McCarthy echoing Cantor soon followed.
A little more than an hour after Cantor released his statement, Schumer’s office shot back that “after days of positive negotiations, with significant flexibility shown by the Speaker, the House Republican leadership is back to agonizing over whether to give in to right-wing demands that they abandon any compromise on their extreme cuts.”
The impasse was due not to Democrats, Schumer argued, but to the fact that Boehner had become beholden in the budget talks to his class of 87 freshmen, many of whom were elected with tea party support.
“The Speaker knows that when it comes to avoiding a shutdown, his problem is with the tea party, not Democrats,” Schumer said. “Instead of lashing out at Democrats in a kneejerk way, we hope House Republicans will finally stand up to the tea party and resume the negotiations that had seemed so full of promise.”