Reid: Boehner should not put speakership above budget deal

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) should be more worried about keeping the government open than his speakership. 

Reid said Boehner knows a clean funding bill could pass the House with Republican and Democratic votes, but he has not taken it up because he is worried about the fallout from the conservative wing of his party. 

“So yes, I think that the Speaker has to be more concerned about our country than he is about his job,” Reid said in a CNN interview.

Other members of the Democratic Senate leadership, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), have charged that Boehner's leadership position is in danger from conservatives. 

Boehner perhaps faces the toughest test yet of his speakership as a government shutdown nears its fourth day. 

In January, Boehner faced 12 defections from Republicans who did not vote for him as Speaker. House Republicans ultimately reelected Boehner with 220 votes. 

Reid said Boehner could not deliver on a deal the two agreed to after the August recess to fund the government because conservatives in his party have pressured him to combine the delay or defunding of ObamaCare with government funding. 

Reid was echoing similar comments he made earlier in the day. He said leaders had already compromised on a deal to keep sequester-level funding of $988 billion a year as the baseline for the continuing resolution.

But he said Boehner reneged after Tea Party-affiliated Republicans demanded that ObamaCare also be part of a deal.  

“I was going to call them crazies, but I shouldn’t do that,” Reid said. 

Democrats have preferred a continuing resolution about $70 billion higher than the current spending bill being debated. 

“That is why we agreed to that lower number,” Reid said. “That is one of the largest compromises since I’ve been in Congress. That is a big deal, $70 billion just like that. And he couldn’t deliver.”