Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has made House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) an offer
to end the ongoing government shutdown— pass the Senate’s “clean” continuing resolution that would reopen the government, and he will immediately appoint conferees to a budget conference between the House and Senate.
This isn’t really a “new” offer. Senate Democrats have been pushing for a budget conference since April. And they have pointed out that Republicans have blocked a potential budget conference 18 times.
But it comes after the House, scrambling on Monday night, passed a motion to form a conference committee with the Senate to iron out differences in the six-week continuing resolution. Reid and other Democrats objected to this, saying Republicans are trying to negotiate with a “gun to our heads.” And the Senate killed the House motion on Tuesday.
Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said the offer was a non-starter.
“The entire government is shut down right now because Washington Democrats refuse to even talk about fairness for all Americans under Obamacare. Offering to negotiate only after Democrats get everything they want is not much of an offer,” Steel said.
In his letter to Boehner, Reid drew an analogy to Republicans’ current objects to the Affordable Care Act to his opposition to the Iraq War.
“I hated the Iraq War. I think I hated it as much as you hate the Affordable Care Act,” Reid wrote.
“There were many gut-wrenching nights when I struggled over what I needed to do to end the carnage. In those days, when President Bush was Commander in Chief, I could have taken the steps that you are taking now to block Government funding in order to gain leverage to end the war. I faced a lot of pressure from my own base to take that action. But I did not do that. I felt that it would have been devastating to America.”
The full letter is below:
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