A top Democrat said on Monday that the 2013 government shutdown isn’t an accident, tea party Republicans planned it, and that they succeeded in that regard.
Speaking on CNN’s “New Day,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said the hard right has been planning the government shutdown for nearly a year now. Democrats and Republicans feuding over the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, has resulted in a federal funding lapse that has left hundreds of thousands of employees out of work and without pay until an agreement is found.
“The issue of Obamacare is almost incidental,” said the New York Democrat. “Their real issue is they have almost a principle that they wanted to shut down the government because they hate it so. And that’s astounding.
“So anyone who thinks this is an accident, that, ‘Oh the president is equally to blame,’ oh no, the tea party planned this and very, very, very meticulously -- and so far successfully -- executed it assuming that Speaker Boehner would go along with them, which unfortunately, was a correct assumption,” Schumer said.
In last week’s meeting with President Barack Obama, congressional leaders made no progress on either reopening the government or preventing a potential default by Oct. 17.
The Affordable Care Act, passed three years ago, provides health insurance coverage to tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans. Republicans say the law is a job killer that must be delayed or done away with.
“I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand,” Boehner said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, in response to a question as to why he broke a promise to pass a resolution with no Obamacare amendments. “And we took a stand.”
But Schumer predicts Boehner will cave as soon as the debt limit deadline draws closer.
“The problem here is Speaker Boehner -- so far -- has been unwilling to break with the tea party,” Schumer said on CNN. “But let me make a prediction: When we get close to the debt ceiling, he will have to break with the tea party. The debt ceiling is such a calamitous possibility that you could go into a recession or even a depression worse than Lehman Brothers and AIG in 2008, that he’ll have no choice.”