Dems: Conservatives are 'itching' for a shutdown

Dems: Conservatives are 'itching' for a shutdown
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Two key House Democrats on Wednesday blasted a government spending package unveiled by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), arguing it signals that conservatives want a shutdown. 

RSC’s measure, released on Tuesday, would take direct aim at Planned Parenthood, President Obama’s immigration policies and the Iran nuclear deal.

“Looking at this, we can only conclude that 70 percent of the House Republican caucus is itching to, once again, shut down the government even though we know the steep price we paid when we shut down the government two years ago,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, during a conference call with reporters.

“It’s unfortunate to see a proposal put forward that essentially leads us over the government shutdown cliff once again,” added Van Hollen, who is running for an open Senate seat in Maryland.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said during the call that Democrats have been pushing GOP leaders for months to initiate negotiations in order to prevent a shutdown on Oct. 1.

“The Speaker has wasted time, failed to do so, and now it’s time to stand up and get a grip on the most extreme elements of his conference,” she said.

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RSC’s funding package, Lowey said, would be “dead on arrival” for Democrats and vetoed if it ever reached Obama’s desk.

“It’s not going to pass,” she said.

Both Van Hollen and Lowey ruled out a compromise with Republicans over Planned Parenthood.

“They can try any spin they want, but it won’t work,” Lowey said.

The RSC proposal, consisting of 12 GOP-sponsored appropriations bills passed out of committee, would prohibit federal funding for all abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, halt the sale of fetal body parts and block funding for ObamaCare.

It would also block funding for the implementation of Obama’s immigration policies from 2011, 2012 and 2014 and prevent the president from lifting sanctions against Iran until 2017, when Obama will be out of office. Under the Iran nuclear deal, sanctions are to be lifted much earlier.

The RSC plan maintains the $1.017 trillion sequestration spending cap for fiscal 2016, which begins Oct. 1. Broken down, that includes a $523 billion spending cap for the Pentagon and a $493 billion limit for domestic programs.

Conservatives have been pushing GOP leaders to attach a measure to a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at current levels that would defund Planned Parenthood.

BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups Veterans are left out of medical marijuana protections MORE has not made a decision about the CR or the demands to defund Planned Parenthood yet.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Wednesday morning that House Democrats have “no idea” how Republicans intend to keep the government open beyond Sept. 30.

If Congress fails to pass a funding package by that date, the government will shut down on Oct. 1. The House has only seven legislative days remaining before the deadline.