Even Cantor, Boehner Split on Budget Tack as Shutdown Looms

Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011 12:47 PM

By Dan Weil

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is distancing himself from House Speaker John Boehner’s position on the budget. Cantor favors a tougher stand on shutting down the government if a budget deal isn’t reached by April 8, Politico reports. And he opposes compromise with the White House.

Eric Cantor, John Boehner, budget, countdown
Majority Leader Eric Cantor: "Time is up here." (Getty Images Photo)
“Time is up here,” Cantor told reporters Tuesday, saying a stopgap budget bill “without a long-term commitment is unacceptable” and that the leadership must fight for the entire $61 billion in spending cuts approved by the House last month.

“That is the House position. That is what we are driving for,” Cantor said. When asked about a possible compromise that would restore about $26 billion of the House cuts, Cantor said he wasn’t aware of Republicans supporting that.

Meanwhile, Democrats appear to be hoping for a government shutdown so that they have a political weapon to use against Republicans. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told a National Journal conference Tuesday that, “if I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it . . . I know who’s going to get blamed — we’ve been down this road before,” Politico reports.

A few hours later, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate accidentally, publicized the Democrats’ strategy on a press call, telling fellow Democrats to label Republicans as “extreme” and blame the tea party if the government shuts down.

“He is spending more time on politics than he is on policy,” House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said of Schumer. “Picking politics before the people.”

Schumer also said Tuesday that some of the riders attached to a House spending bill would be dead on arrival in the Senate, The Hill reports. He specifically mentioned measures to defund Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“The bottom line is that whether it's Planned Parenthood or EPA, we will not accept those riders," Schumer said on MSNBC, according to The Hill.  "And any thought to the contrary is wrong. We believe that they don't belong in a budget bill. There can be debate on these issues. We believe they would be defeated in the Senate."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he’s willing to consider riders, but Schumer opted for a hard line. "There was some talk today about some riders being accepted by leader Reid," he said. "But let's be clear, those would be the kinds of noncontroversial riders we haven't heard about."



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