By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — There’s a shutdown showdown on Capitol Hill.
The GOP’s “reckless” demand for immediate budget cuts all but guarantees a government shutdown next month, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) warned yesterday.
Schumer was on the warpath over House Speaker John Boehner’s spending-slash plan, blasting him for trying to gut vital health and social services to save a buck.
“Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner seems to be on a course that would inevitably lead to a shutdown,” Schumer told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s reckless.”
“I understand that Speaker Boehner is being pushed by the hard right,” he said. “But it’s wrong — wrong. It would hurt innocent people, hurt the economy, and we hope we can come to the table and negotiate without shutting the government down.”
The House on Saturday passed a spending bill that slashes nearly $62 billion from the current budget. That’s on top of about $41 billion in cuts Congress already made to President Obama’s 2011 budget request.
The shutdown debate is just the first in a series of expected spending showdowns. Next up is the 2012 budget and then Obama’s request to increase the national debt limit above $14.3 trillion.
Congress, which is on a Presidents Day holiday until next week, must OK a spending bill by March 4 to avoid a shutdown.
Democrats huddled yesterday in a bid to craft a temporary measure to keep the government running, but Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House would reject any bill that doesn’t include cuts.
Still, some of Schumer’s colleagues disagree with his dire predictions of a government shutdown.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) dismissed the red flag as “silly.”
She told “Fox News Sunday” that she is confident “everybody can behave like adults” to finish a spending bill on time.
On the CNN show, Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) said the shutdown rhetoric was just a “blame game” and Obama should “produce a formula . . . for the Senate to act.”
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