Schumer tells Boehner: Abandon the Tea Party

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday advised House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to ignore conservative members of his conference in order to hammer out a long-term spending proposal with Democrats.

The third-ranking Senate Democrat said a growing number of Tea Party-backed Republicans are putting too much pressure on the top Republican to push for deep spending cuts that cannot clear the Democratic-controlled upper chamber, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown.

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"It is becoming clear that the path to a bipartisan budget deal may not go through the Tea Party at all," he said. "In order to avert a shutdown, Speaker Boehner should consider leaving the Tea Party behind and instead seek a consensus in the House among moderate Republicans and a group of Democrats."

Schumer's warning came after two key conservative Republicans said Monday they will vote against a stopgap measure to fund the government, which will run out of money on Friday.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (Ohio) and freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) both said that the proposed three-week spending measure does not cut enough spending, saying they prefer a long-term measure with deep cuts. The statements illustrated the pressure House Republican leaders face from conservatives as the stalemate over government spending continues.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel responded, accusing Democrats of failing to come up with a long-term spending plan themselves.

"If he's looking to criticize someone, Senator Schumer should buy a mirror," he said. "It is the Democrats who run Washington that have refused to provide any spending plan other than the status quo, and the status quo just isn't acceptable to the American people."

Since Republicans captured control of Congress in November with the help of 87 freshmen, Democrats have cautioned GOP leaders not to become beholden to Tea Party activists who made spending cuts a top issue on the campaign trail. Schumer has helped lead that effort as the chief of the Senate Democrats' messaging operation.

Earlier this month, for example, Reid accused Boehner of being "bossed around" by freshmen on spending.

At least one House GOP freshman on Monday warned his colleagues not to force a shutdown. 

“The extreme wing of the Republican Party is making a big mistake with their flat-out opposition to a short-term continuing resolution," said Rep. Michael Grimm (N.Y.) "They’re not looking at the big picture, and the last thing we want to do is become like Nancy Pelosi in the last Congress, where it was 'my way or the highway.' "