Government shutdown threat looms over budget fight

By Reuters
Sunday, February 20, 2011 14:05 EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior Senate Democrats slammed Republicans on Sunday for a “reckless” threat to shut down the government as political posturing intensified on both sides over federal spending and the budget deficit.

The House of Representatives approved legislation on Saturday to cut federal spending by $61 billion through September. But The bill, pushed through by Republicans, was sure to be significantly changed by President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats in the Senate.

“Unfortunately Speaker Boehner seems to be on a course that would inevitably lead to a shutdown … That’s reckless,” said Democratic Senator Charles Schumer on CNN’S State of the Union program, speaking of House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress.

“We have said shutdown is off the table … Boehner, Mitch McConnell, other Republican leaders have not taken it off the table when asked, and there are lots of people on the hard right clamoring for a shutdown.”

With the U.S. government funded only through March 4, some lawmakers from both parties are urging compromise, which was seen as the likeliest outcome, even by one of the House’s new breed of small-government, deficit-slashing freshman Republicans.

“When it goes to the Senate, they’re going to make their changes and then it’s got to go to the president. So you know, it will not be in the form that we produced yesterday morning at 5 a.m.,” Representative Steve Southerland, a first-term Republican from Florida, said on ABC’s This Week news program.

The House bill is a challenge to Obama to tackle record budget deficits seen at hitting $1.6 trillion this year. If there is no compromise, it sets up the possibility of a government shutdown, something Boehner has not ruled out.


But Southerland said on ABC’s This Week: “We have no desire to have a government shutdown. I think that Speaker Boehner has been very, very clear.”

The bill approved early Saturday morning would slash spending on many domestic programs by 14 percent but leave untouched major programs such as the Medicare and Medicaid healthcare programs for the elderly and poor and the Social Security pension program.

The House vote was seen as a victory for Tea Party conservatives elected in November.

Obama has outlined his own plan for less-severe spending cuts in 2012, and has warned that tightening the belt too much too soon could harm the slow economic recovery.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said her party knows that cuts must be made. “The question is, what are the priorities here?” she said on Fox News Sunday.

“Are we going to take a weed whacker to education funding in this country while we let millionaires continue to deduct interest on their second home? That doesn’t seem to be the right priority … I’m a little worried that the Republicans in the House are so anxious to threaten shutting down the government.”

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

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  • ProgressiveInNewYork

    These guys must all be neo-luddites. While they not like science and all the technology it brings us, the rest of us know how to use it. And their short term memory loss must be due to …. something.

    Don’t they remember the consequences the last time they shut down the government? Do they really think we don’t know how to find what they say and the consequences of THEIR actions? Why do republicans hate America so much. They hate us for our freedoms, they hate us for our rights. They seem to only want wage slaves and corporate masters.
    Well, sorry, but I ain’t shufflin’ off for no one.

  • Hassan i Sabbah

    There may be a silver lining here. Maybe the Republicans and Teabaggers will finally get it through their concrete block heads that they need the government after all. Then again, maybe they’ll just blame it on us Jews.

  • Anonymous

    Republicans, don’t want to govern they want to rule.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right you dirty bastards! Shut down the federal government and stop all social security checks from being sent out. You dirty sobs! Playing politics with peoples lives. The people who have the least, go ahead dump on them! You gave the richest 2% their tax break, so now you have to steal from the people who have the least!!!! You dirty Bastards! I hope you all rot in hell and take all of your dumbass voters with! They are just too stupid to live!!!! These jackasses won’t be happy until they completely destroy the middle and poor classes. I think people should march on washington and hold the damn politicians hostage untl they agree to represent the poeple!!!!!!!

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Can anybody else see what these bastards are doing? This is a civilian coupe d’état. These bastards are finishing up what Bush (well, actually Reagan) started. All under the watchful eye of Obomber.

  • Guest

    Well, ProgressiveInNewYork, if what you are saying is true (And it IS), they won’t be able to hate us for “our rights” or “our freedoms” much longer; they are becoming RAPIDLY extinct.

  • Guest

    I really don’t think he’s watching, Johnny. You’ve heard of “turning a blind eye”?
    He’s trying to do the kids game of closing their eyes, therefore becoming invisible.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    He’s too busy manning that revolving door between the WH and Wall Street. That takes up all of his time these day. Oh, yeah, and vetoing UN resolutions against Israel, of course.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t you mean Grandpappy Bush? Round two of his foiled plan…

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Yeah. No matter how far back you go, it seems there’s an event that can be pinpointed that goes even further back.

  • Anonymous

    If the government shuts down, then I say the people should move in. Getting politicians out of the way might be the best thing we could ask for. We can cut their salaries in half, mandate a progressive tax system and end the wars, institute a congressional oversight board that actually investigates and punishes wrongdoing and “claw”-back billions from the banks while upholding mortgage law. When they come back we can say your services are no longer required tyvm

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    Except for those people getting government checks, no one else will much notice.

  • Anonymous

    …need government after all? “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master” GW I say bring it!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JETED5IFXLBHDCPATGS3JUS5HU Dip Stick

    If they shut the government down over their petty bickering, can we step up to the plate instead and do what they should have done for them.

    Patriot Act. Repealed. Term limits. Enacted. Pay caps for CEO’s, enacted. Audit of the Fed Reserve. Yes, please. Defunding of the military and funding of education, passed. Indictments for the white collar criminals, subpoenaed beatch. Grand Juries for the crimes of the entire Bush I, Clinton, W Bush II and Obama administrations, convened. A reopening of 9/11. How about a side order of some anti-trust lawsuits against the mortgage giants that are” too big to fail”. Not anymore they ain’t. Double the taxes on the obscenely rich, why yes sir, right this way.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve missed a lot here. Let’s hear your wishlists.

  • realnewz

    1. End all wars.
    2. Close GITMO and all other black sites.
    3. No more black budget.
    4. Low cost health care.
    5. more jobs and higher wages.
    6. Modernize/create updated infastrucure such as; trains, speed rails, express ways etc.