GOP senator presses Dem budget talks

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Saturday urged Democrats to negotiate on a stopgap spending bill to end the government shutdown.

In the weekly Republican address, Cornyn expressed frustration that Democrats were unwilling to consider defunding or delaying what Republicans deem as an unworkable healthcare law.

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Cornyn insists that Republicans are eager to end the government shutdown, now in its fifth day, and move ahead with fiscal and economic reforms.

But the refusal of Senate Democrats and President Obama to negotiate has led to a stalemate.

“It has become disturbingly clear that the Obama-Reid shutdown is no longer about healthcare, or spending, or ideology,” Cornyn said.

“It’s about politics, plain and simple."

The Senate Republican Whip argues that House Republicans have repeatedly sent over legislation that would fund federal operations, but Senate Democrats are rejecting those bills.

“Like most Americans, I was disappointed when certain parts of the federal government were forced to shut down because Senate Democrats refused to make any changes whatsoever to the deeply flawed healthcare law known as Obamacare," he said.

House Republicans, at first, attempted to defund or delay ObamaCare in several bills they passed and sent to the Senate during in the past couple of weeks.

However, Senate Democrats and the White House have said they won't agree to sweeping changes of the president's signature healthcare as part of a continuing resolution, which is designed to temporarily keep the government running at current funding levels.

When that strategy failed, the House began passing incremental spending measures targeting spending for specific parts of the government.

“House Republicans have repeatedly sent over legislation that would fund federal operations, but Senate Democrats have rejected each and every bill," Cornyn said.

"They’re effectively arguing that the House bills are simply illegitimate, because they contain policy measures that the Democrats don’t like."

The Senate has refused to bring up the bills, accusing House leaders of cherry-picking programs in an effort to fund most of the government except for the healthcare law.

The White House has reiterated that it would veto piecemeal spending bills, saying it was “not a serious or responsible way to run the U.S. government.”

Cornyn argued that while Democrats have “rejected a one-year delay in ObamaCare’s individual mandate, they have delayed the requirement for employers.

They have rejected a bill that would force lawmakers to follow the healthcare law and another that would repeal a medical device tax.

He criticized the president for threatening to veto a series of individual House bills that would fund veterans programs, national parks, the National Institutes of Health and the Washington, D.C. government.

"When Republicans asked Senate Democrats to join with us and pass these bills, they simply said no," he said.

"The White House recently claimed that somehow they were ‘winning’ and that it ‘doesn’t really matter’ how long the shutdown lasts. Apparently they think the government shutdown is good politics, and they’re in no hurry to break the stalemate."

Meanwhile, the debate over funding the government and increasing the debt limit have merged during the fiscal battle.

House Speaker John Boehner rallied Republicans on Friday to stick to their plan and not “roll over."

He continued the GOP strategy of casting Republicans as the party interested in talking, and blamed Democrats for holding back.

Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have said that they're more than willing to discuss broader fiscal issues or changes to the president's healthcare law but not as part of negotiations to reopen the government or raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.

Republicans are standing pat, saying they won't ever agree to pass a “clean” government funding bill or raise the debt limit without conditions.

“All Republicans can do is to continue promoting common-sense solutions that would end the shutdown and allow us to move forward," he said.

"Hopefully our friends across the aisle will eventually get tired of playing politics. Hopefully they’ll remember that neither house of Congress can set the national agenda all by itself."

Cornyn also used the address to thank Capitol Hill police officers who engaged in a car chase around the Capitol that left a Connecticut woman dead.

"Their tireless efforts often go unnoticed; but whenever they’re called upon to act in a moment of crisis, we’re reminded of their tremendous commitment and bravery," he said.