Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected a stopgap measure that would have prevented a government shutdown due to the inability of lawmakers to come to an agreement on the federal budget.
As the clock ticks down to March 4, when the current stopgap funding measure expires, Boehner shot down what many considered to be the surest way to keep government agencies running while the two chambers hammer out the differences between their respective spending bills.
"We are hopeful that the Senate will take up the House‑passed bill that comes out of here today, tonight, tomorrow morning, whenever it is, and we hope that they will move it," he said at a press conference. "But I am not going to move any kind of short‑term CR at current levels. When we say we're going to cut spending, read my lips: We are going to cut spending."
Boehner’s remarks provoked a swift reaction from Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who said that Boehner is threatening a shutdown with out being willing to negotiate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., retorted that Boehner was resorting "to threats of a shutdown without any negotiation." Officials added that Democrats would seek a short-term bill without any cut in spending levels, a position sharply at odds with Boehner's.
The sparring occurred as the House labored to complete work on veto-threatened legislation to cut more than $61 billion from the budget year that's more than a third over. That bill also would provide funding to keep the government operating until Sept. 30.
Today, Jerry Hartz, a senior aide to Nancy Pelosi, said that a government shutdown "is more likely than not".
Hartz reportedly weighed in on the contentious issue at a routine meeting with Democratic chiefs of staff. According to Politico, his remarks were unsolicited. One unidentified chief of staff told the outlet the remarks appeared to reflect a "genuine" concern.
Nancy Pelosi on what this action would say about Republicans:
So much is at stake. It's a failure to say we've taken the leadership of the United States and the first thing we're going to do is shut down the government to the detriment of our people [and] to our security.