Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) late Thursday night said the lack of leadership from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in dealing with the "hard right" members of the House is why there is no budget deal and why the government may shut down after funding expires Friday.
"Speaker Boehner is somebody we all have a great deal of affection for and sympathy for," Schumer said on the Senate floor. "But you know, Mr. President, the hour is nigh and leadership is called for. And to allow this small group … to dominate everything that is happening and hurt millions of innocent people is not leadership."
Putting the blame for the budget stalemate on an intra-Republican feud has been an often-repeated part of the Democrats' message — Schumer is in charge of that operation.
Schumer said that despite Boehner's comments that no numbers have been agreed to yet, negotiators have essentially reached a deal on numbers, and the Speaker is hesitant to announce this for fear of drawing criticism from Republicans who want more aggressive cuts.
"The bottom line is, the number and what composes that number of cuts is virtually agreed to," Schumer said. "The only reason there is not a handshake is Speaker Boehner and his representatives don't want it to appear the numbers are signed off on."
Schumer added that he has heard "all the details" of the negotiations from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
He also noted that many Republicans are saying that unless they get their way, a shutdown would be acceptable. "I've heard Sarah Palin talk about the shutdown being a good thing, I've heard Newt Gingrich talk about the shutdown being a good thing," he said. "Have you heard a single Democratic elected official say it? No."