A new game plan from House Republicans to take a piecemeal approach to funding the government, which is currently in shutdown mode, is already winning no favors with Senate Democrats.
The House was looking to debate bills that would fund parts of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Park Service around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. However, it’s a no go once again for Democrats, who say no one should choose between important priorities such as veterans, or scientific research, or the national parks, or enrolling children in Head Start programs.
After reading a message from Republicans on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., accused them of “trying to cherry-pick the few parts of government they like.”
“[It’s] just another wacky idea from the tea party-driven Republicans,” Reid said, adding that the government would reopen if House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stood up to his rebellious caucus.
“The Republican plan is not a serious plan,” Reid said. “It is not a plan to run the country. It is not what the public sent us here to do.”
Reid warned Republicans that “if they think they are going to come and nitpick us on this, it won’t work.”
Reid’s tough talk was backed by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who dismissed the GOP’s new strategy as “cynical” and said it puts important priorities against each other.
“Open our government and then we can have a fruitful discussion,” Schumer said. “They keep trying new tricks. [...] Speaker Boehner is trying to wriggle out of the box in which he put himself.”
The shutdown went into effect at midnight Tuesday, sending hundreds of thousands of federal workers on furloughs, except for workers deemed essential to protect safety and property.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a tea party Republican from Texas, on Monday spoke of the idea of a piecemeal approach to the continuing resolution to pass small-scale appropriations bills.
“I think we ought to start passing continuing resolutions narrowly focused on each of the things the President listed [Monday,]” Cruz told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, according to Politico.
Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Republican actions are the “height of irresponsibility” and called it “arrogance.” He specifically blasted Cruz, saying it is “reckless” for him to decide what stays open and what doesn’t.
“I sure hope we get around to the wish list of Ted Cruz,” he said. “To think that this senator has the nerve to decide what is really, really important for America.”
They've called on Republicans to pass a clean continuing resolution that funds Obamacare then head to the table on a more permanent budget solution.
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...