Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, through a spokesman, said Monday that GOP House Speaker John A. Boehner is not a credible negotiator anymore, in an attack that further underscores just how tough it will be to get a deal done on either spending or the debt.
“Speaker Boehner has a credibility problem,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement.
The Senate Democratic leader has already accused Mr. Boehner of backing away from a deal on the spending bill, in which Mr. Reid said he agreed to a spending total $70 billion less than he’d wanted, and Mr. Boehner agreed not to attach any other conditions, such as defunding Obamacare, to the bill.
But after seeing a bill couldn’t win enough Republican support in his own chamber, Mr. Boehner ended up attaching exactly that condition to the stopgap spending measure, igniting the current government shutdown.
Over the past few days, Democrats have urged Mr. Boehner to put a conditions-free bill on the House floor and see if there are enough votes to pass it with a coalition of Democrats and Republicans. The Senate has already approved such a bill repeatedly.
Mr. Boehner said on ABC’s “This Week” program Sunday that there aren’t enough votes to do that. But Democrats counter that at least 20 Republicans have said they would vote for such a “continuing resolution, or “CR” in Washington-speak. Combined with Democrats, those 20 Republicans would be enough to get the bill through.
“Americans across the country are suffering because Speaker Boehner refuses to come to grips with reality,” Mr. Jentleson said. “Today, Speaker Boehner should stop the games and let the House vote on the Senate’s clean CR so that the entire federal government can re-open within 24 hours.”
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner, countered that Democrats shouldn’t get credit for agreeing to a spending number they already had written into the law. Indeed, the 2014 spending level was set by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which Mr. Reid helped write.
“It’s time for Senate Democrats to stow their faux outrage and deal with the problems at hand,” Mr. Steel said.