By Alexander Bolton - 09/26/13 05:47 PM EDT
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday he hasn’t had a single conversation with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) about avoiding a government shutdown and doesn’t plan to.
“Send us a clean [continuing resolution], a clean debt ceiling [bill]. That’s the path forward. There’s no need for conversations. We’ve spoken loudly and clearly, and we have the support of the president of the United States,” Reid told reporters.
As time ticks down to the midnight deadline on Oct. 1, Reid has staunchly refused to negotiate with House Republicans over proposals to defund or partially repeal ObamaCare.
Reid has resisted even talking with Republican leaders, which he says could further encourage them to threaten a government shutdown or debt default.
Some Republicans view the debt limit as better leverage to extract concessions from Democrats on ObamaCare and other government spending. They argue the administration should prioritize debt payments to avoid default.
Reid said Democrats would not negotiate over the stopgap bill funding government even if Republicans agreed to turn off the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.
“No, as much as we dislike the senseless sequestration,” said Reid.
Reid also ruled out a GOP proposal to attach a repeal of the medical device tax to the stopgap, even though many Democrats support eliminating it.
“We want a clean CR. That’s what we’re going to get. If they want to shut down the government, here’s how much time they have to figure it out: four days, 11 hours, 22 minutes and 15 seconds,” Reid said, pointing to a large television monitor in the Senate television studio counting down the time until government funding expires.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), a supporter of repealing the medical device tax, said the stopgap measure is not the proper vehicle for it.
“My position is it should be replaced and the revenue it raises replaced as well,” Durbin said.
Durbin said adding a strict repeal to the continuing resolution would create a revenue gap on the order of $10 billion to $30 billion.
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Reid urged President Obama to abandon discussions about setting up a bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders this week. Reid’s spokesman declined to comment on the report.