‘Pass the Damn Thing!’: Boehner Unloads on Senate Democrats over Looming Government Shutdown

Mar 30, 2011 12:10pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:

House Speaker John Boehner blew up at Senate Democrats this morning, calling on them to pass their own version of government funding bill so that negotiations on a different compromise bill could continue.

“The House has passed our bill and it’s been nearly 40 days and yet we’ve seen nothing pass the United States Senate,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “It’s time for Senate Democrats to act on a bill. We know that reducing spending will lead to a better environment for job creators to create jobs in America. We’ve done our job.”

“Now the Senate says, ‘we have a plan.’ Well, great! Pass the damn thing, all right?!” Boehner blasted. “And send it over here and let’s have real negotiations instead of sitting over there rooting for a government shutdown.”

Boehner told reporters that the Senate should pass its own bill to establish the level of cuts the Senate could muster and bring back to the bicameral negotiations.

Lawmakers have passed a series of stop-gap measures to keep the government running during negotiations. The most recent of those runs out April 9th.

In accusing Democrats of rooting for a shutdown, Boehner was referring to comments by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean that a government shutdown would benefit Democrats.

This morning’s press conference was the second by House Republicans in as many days to address the lack of developments in negotiations with Senate Democrats and the White House.

President Obama has threatened to veto the bill with more than $60 billion in cuts passed by House Republicans. But Boehner said he was unsure what level of spending cuts the President would sign.

“No,” Boehner answered. “No. No way. I have no clue.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor blamed Democrats for failing to pass spending bills during the last Congress, and also ripped the president for being “M.I.A.” on negotiations to fund the government.

Cantor told reporters that a new bill – “the Prevention of Government Shutdown Act” – would be on the floor for a vote Friday with the hope that the measure will, at a minimum, spur the Senate to pass some kind bill so genuine negotiations can move forward.

The bill, according to Cantor, would reiterate the April 9th deadline to come up with a long-term solution to fund the government for the rest of the year, but it would also mandate that if the two sides fail to come to terms on an agreement and the government actually shuts down for more than 24 hours, or if the federal debt limit is reached, Members of Congress and the president would not be paid.

“What this bill says is it reiterates again the deadline, and that the Senate should act before the deadline, and that’s what the American people are expecting. The bill then says if the Senate does not act, then H.R. 1 would be the law of the land. In addition to that, it says if all else fails and the Senate brings about a shutdown, then members should not get their pay,” Cantor, R-Va., said. “Perhaps that will prod the Senate into joining us into taking care of business here, which is to get our fiscal house in order so we don’t bring about a massive tax increase to keep financing the deficits and the debt that we’re incurring.”

Cantor said Republicans have “not had any indication that the Senate is interested in changing the status quo” and encouraged Congressional Democrats to work with the GOP on a deal.

“We’re serious. We want to take care of this problem so that we can get on about the business of this nation and get Americans back to work,” Cantor said. “There’s two options here: either you’re going to keep spending the way you are and you gotta raise taxes. So if that’s the case, show us your tax increase plan. If not, join us in cutting spending.”

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