Reid said that Republicans and Democrats need to work out a compromise to replace “hard-hearted” sequester cuts, and that the best way to do that is through a budget committee conference between the House and Senate.

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Senate Democrats have requested going to conference 17 times, but each time, a GOP senator has objected. If a deal isn’t worked out to fund the government for fiscal 2014 — which starts in October — a short-term government spending bill will be necessary.

Some Republicans, lead by Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioEthiopia at tipping point as Congress mulls human rights bill Report: Trump to reverse Obama’s Cuba policy Report: VA drug thefts not going away MORE (R-Fla.) and Mike LeeMike LeeGOP leader tempers ObamaCare expectations Republicans go to battle over pre-existing conditions Senate gears up for fight on Trump's 0B Saudi Arabia arms sale MORE (R-Utah), have said GOP lawmakers should oppose any short-term spending deal that contains funds for ObamaCare — risking a government shutdown.

“If Republicans force us to the brink of another government shutdown, the economy will suffer,” Reid said. “Any Republican who thinks a government shutdown is a good idea, I suggest they give a call to Newt Gingrich. He’ll return your phone calls. It was disastrous for him then, and it will be again now.”