By Jonathan Easley - 10/04/13 12:57 PM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday dismissed the notion Democrats have been unwilling to negotiate with Republicans in the government shutdown fight, saying President Obama’s concessions have been “lost in the news.”
Pelosi argued that the clean continuing resolution, one that doesn’t defund ObamaCare, was already at levels Democrats were unhappy with because it’s at sequester levels mandated after the 2011 debt ceiling fight. The Democratic leader said this was a point that had been lost on the media in the back and forth between the two parties.
“We don’t like the [spending] bill … it is not adequate to do the job we’re supposed to do for the American people, but we will accept that in order to go forward,” Pelosi said. “But [Republicans] do not have within their own ranks the ability to take yes for an answer.”
“We agreed to their number, which we don’t like,” she added. “We’ve always said to them, 'We’ll help you procedurally; we’ll help you substantively.'”
The House minority leader said the only way out is for Republicans to “take their party back” from the Tea Party wing.
“It will take some coming together on the Republican side,” she said. “It’s very hard to negotiate with Republicans when they can’t negotiate with themselves.”
She added: “If you don’t believe in a government role, then it’s easy for you to say, in order to lift the debt ceiling we want to eliminate all [Environmental Protection Agency] rules for clean air, clean water and the rest.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a Tea Party favorite, helped initiate the government shutdown fight by demanding the president’s healthcare law not receive any appropriations in a continuing resolution. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took up the fight in the House, although Republicans have since pivoted away from the demand.
“Here’s what the president has said — the full faith and credit of the government is non-negotiable. Everything else in the budget is [negotiable],” Pelosi continued. “But they can’t say our first premise is you have to overturn the Affordable Care Act.”