From TALKING POINTS MEMO:
In a statement this afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor acknowledged what top Republicans have hesitated to acknowledge since they won back the majority in November: a government shutdown is a real possibility and, he says, the country will blame Democrats if that happens.
Through all the twists and turns of the spending cut fight, Republicans have been loathe to admit the real possibility of a government shutdown.
But now Republicans have been dragged across the event horizon. Or so it seems. They’re prepared to reject a fledgling White House spending cut plan, which includes cuts to both discretionary and mandatory spending. Democrats say they will not negotiate backwards from the much farther-reaching House position, but Republicans say that’s a predicate for reaching an agreement. And if there is a shutdown, these developments raise another question: will Republicans take a page out of their 2010 election playbook and attack Democrats for pushing cuts to entitlement programs.
Politically, this is dangerous territory for Republicans. They need Democrats to pass any budget that the Senate will accept and the President will sign. So they’re trying to maximize the Republican position in these negotiations without triggering a shutdown. But if they overplay their hand, and the government shuts down, it’s unclear who’ll be caught in the political fallout. [...]
Full statement below.
“Senator [Harry] Reid failed to pass a budget last year and once again is abandoning his responsibility to offer a credible plan to cut spending and fund the government for the rest of the year. The Reid/Schumer leadership team has failed to take our fiscal crisis seriously, as members of their own Democratic caucus have pointed out.”Our federal government borrows nearly forty cents of each dollar it spends, yet Senate Democrats want to keep spending money that we don’t have. It is clear that because Senator Reid refuses to make any spending cuts, he instead plans to force a massive future tax hike on families and small business people.
“In the scope of our debt crisis, if Senator Reid and Senator [Charles] Schumer force the government to partially shut down over these sensible spending cuts, Americans will hold them accountable.”