Who to blame for a U.S. government shutdown?
Never mind that it hasn’t happened yet. Lawmakers want to make sure everyone knows who is responsible if it does.
If the U.S. Congress deadlocks over spending for the rest of this fiscal year and forces a shutdown of government services when the money runs out on March 4, who will be to blame?
Democrats and Republicans may not agree on much, but they do agree on one thing – if the government shuts down it will be the other party’s fault.
The two sides have been going back and forth on the possibility of a government shut down for weeks. House Speaker John Boehner opened up a fresh round of the blame game on Thursday.
“We have some Democrats here on Capitol Hill threatening to shut down the government rather than to cut spending and to follow the will of the American people,” Boehner said at a news conference.
The government has been running on a series of short-term “continuing resolutions” that keep spending mostly at last year’s levels and Boehner said he would not agree to another short-term spending plan without spending cuts.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid quickly responded to Boehner’s comments and put the ball back in the Republican court.
“I am disappointed that Speaker Boehner doesn’t believe he has the votes to avoid a government shutdown, unless his members get their way on all of their demands,” Reid said.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel returned the volley.
“If Senator Reid is unwilling to listen to the American people and cut spending in a temporary (continuing resolution), he will be responsible for the government shut-down he and Senator (Charles) Schumer are rooting for,” Steel said.
It’s never too early on Capitol Hill to start pointing fingers.
Photo credits: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference)
REUTERS/Jim Young (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator charles Schumer)