Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) continues to sharpen his attacks against House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), with a Monday morning statement accusing Boehner of having a “credibility problem.”
During a Sunday morning appearance on ABC’s This Week, Boehner claimed that the House could not pass a continuing resolution that would fund the government without defunding or delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR,” Boehner insisted.
According to Reid, however, the Speaker’s statements should no longer be taken at face value.
“Speaker Boehner has a credibility problem,” Reid’s spokesman Adam Jentelson said in a statement.”From refusing to let the House vote on a bill that was his idea in the first place, to decrying health care subsidies for members of Congress and staff that he worked for months to preserve, to stating that the House doesn’t have the votes to pass a clean CR at current spending levels, there is now a consistent pattern of Speaker Boehner saying things that fly in the face of the facts or stand at odds with his past actions.”
“Americans across the country are suffering because Speaker Boehner refuses to come to grips with reality,” the statement adds. “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 reopen within twenty-four hours.”
Seventeen Republicans would have to join the 200 House Democrats to pass the Senate’s budget bill, which would fund the government for six months at sequester levels; according to various whip counts, over 20 House Republicans have pledged to vote to end the seven-day-old shutdown.
The sharply critical statement is just the latest escalation in Reid’s war of words against Speaker Boehner. According to Politico, a furious Reid repeatedly called Boehner a “coward” at a Senate Democratic policy luncheon last Tuesday.
Senator Reid is not the only Democrat to challenge Boehner to put his money where his mouth is, and hold a vote on a clean CR.
“Let me issue him a friendly challenge,” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said of the Speaker on This Week. “Put [a clean CR] on the floor Monday or Tuesday. I would bet there are the votes to pass it.”
“So, Speaker Boehner, just vote,” he added. “Put it on the floor and let’s see if you’re right.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made a similar dare via Twitter:
— Jay Carney (EOP) (@PressSec) October 6, 2013
As of noon on Monday, Boehner has given no indication that he plans to do so. In a statement responding to Reid, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel insisted that “A ‘clean’ debt limit increase can’t pass the Senate, let alone the House. It’s time for some Washington Democrat to step up, act like an adult, and start talking about how we reopen the government, provide fairness for the American people under Obamacare, and deal with the drivers of our debt and deficits.”
AFP Photo/Alex Wong