Reid urges GOP to ditch Tea Party

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSanders hires veteran progressive operative to manage 2020 bid Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Klobuchar: 'I don't remember' conversation with Reid over alleged staff mistreatment MORE (D-Nev.) on Monday urged Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCrowley, Shuster moving to K Street On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word MORE (R-Ohio) to ditch members of the Tea Party and cut a deal with Democrats to avert a government shutdown. 

Reid insisted it is those GOP internal divisions that are threatening to shut down the government after April 8, in less than two weeks.


“For the sake of our economy, it’s time for mainstream Republicans to stand up to the Tea Party and rejoin Democrats at the table to negotiate a responsible solution that cuts spending while protecting jobs," he said.

Last week Reid put $7.5 billion in discretionary cuts and $3.5 billion in mandatory savings on the table as a counteroffer to the $51 billion in additional cuts the GOP is seeking.

This week Democrats are mulling raising the offer to $20 billion. But Democratic aides insist it is the divided GOP that must make the next move and come back to the negotiating table, not Democrats who must continue to negotiate with themselves and up their offer.

“I am extremely disappointed that after weeks of productive negotiations with Speaker BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCrowley, Shuster moving to K Street On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word MORE, Tea Party Republicans are scrapping all the progress we have made and threatening to shut down the government if they do not get all of their extreme demands," Reid said in a statement.

"The division between the Tea Party and mainstream Republicans is preventing us from reaching a responsible solution on a long-term budget that will make smart cuts while protecting American jobs, and prevented negotiations from taking place over the weekend even as the clock ticks toward a government shutdown," he added.

Republicans counter that the Democratic offer is too puny and their unwillingness to allow policy riders — such as those defunding Obama's healthcare reform — make their position a non-starter.

“The Democrats who run Washington are desperately trying to divert attention from their own divisions over cutting spending," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. "Discussions with Senate Democrats and the White House over a long-term funding bill are ongoing and will continue, but the facts remain the same. The House passed a bill to fund the government while cutting spending, and – nearly 40 days later – the Senate has not. Senate Democrats’ position is essentially the status quo, and the big-spending Washington status quo just isn’t acceptable to the American people.”

Talks over the CR broke down in a meeting last Tuesday when the GOP insisted that the staring point for the talks be the House-passed spending bill.

The impasse broke into the open on Friday, after Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.) said there had been progress. House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorPelosi warns GOP: Next president could declare national emergency on guns Ousted GOP lawmaker David Brat named dean at Liberty University business school Trump, GOP seek to shift blame for shutdown to Pelosi MORE (R-Va.) shot back that Schumer's contention was "far-fetched." Schumer responded, in kind, with a line of attack on the Tea Party.

"After days of positive negotiations, with significant flexibility shown by the Speaker, the House Republican leadership is back to agonizing over whether to give in to right-wing demands that they abandon any compromise on their extreme cuts," Schumer said. "The Speaker knows that when it comes to avoiding a shutdown, his problem is with the Tea Party, not Democrats."

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, chimed in Monday, telling's Top Line that "instead of the Speaker and the Whip whipping" the party, "the Tea Party caucus is whipping the Speaker."

Jordan Fabian contributed.

This post was last updated at 1:18 p.m.