Reid 'really frightened' over potential for government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he is scared of a possible government shutdown after meeting with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Thursday morning.

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“I’m really frightened,” he told reporters after a press conference to discuss the morning meeting he had with Boehner, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“I think they’re looking like the House is having trouble controlling themselves,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Reid declared that the lower chamber had been taken over by anarchists after an energy efficiency bill stalled on the Senate floor.

“We’re diverted totally from what this bill is about. Why? Because the anarchists have taken over,” he said. “They’ve taken over the House and now they’ve taken over the Senate.

Reid on Thursday delivered a blunt message to Boehner that he will not delay the 2010 Affordable Care Act in exchange for keeping the government open past the end of the month.

Reid also made clear he will not grant Republicans any concessions in order to pass legislation to raise the debt limit.

Reid told reporters that he will strip out any language defunding or delaying the new healthcare law included in House-passed legislation funding government beyond Sept. 30.

“Go to something else, get away from ObamaCare. Send us something else,” he said.  

He plans to pass a “clean” stopgap spending measure to keep the government open through year’s end.

Reid characterized Thursday morning’s bicameral leadership meeting as cordial and said he offered to help Boehner circumvent Tea Party-affiliated conservatives who are threatening a government shutdown.

“I said to him, ‘What can I do to help?’,” Reid said. “It was not a yelling-at-each-other meeting. It was a very nice meeting we had. Hey listen, I like John Boehner.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Senate Democratic leader, predicted House Republican leaders will fold before allowing the government to shut down.

“I still think at the last minute they’ll have to blink,” Schumer said.

“The fact that Boehner came up with his sort-of concoction shows that he knows that a government shutdown plays badly for him,” he added, referring to the stopgap spending measure House GOP leaders presented to their colleagues on Tuesday. 

“Should he go forward and let the Tea Party win on the government shutdown, then everyone will come down on him and say, ‘Why’d you allow them to do it?’.”

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee and fourth-ranking member of the Democratic leadership, would not let Republicans use a possible shutdown or the soon-to-expire debt limit as negotiating leverage to halt ObamaCare.

“I hope he realizes that Democrats are not delaying ObamaCare, that we certainly aren’t negotiating over the debt limit and it’s insane to play partisan games with our nation’s economy,” she said, referring to Boehner.