Schumer Says Tea Party's Been Planning Shutdown for Year and a Half

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) alleged this morning that the government shutdown is the result of a long-running scheme in the works by the Tea Party.

Schumer told CNN he's still challenging House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to move a "clean" continuing resolution, without any mention of Obamacare, to the floor for a vote.

"I have very little doubt that if Speaker Boehner put it on the floor, it would pass. I think the real reason he doesn't put it on the floor is that it would enrage the Tea Party," he said.

"The Tea Party was planning to shut down the government almost a year and a half before it happened. The issue of Obamacare is almost incidental. The real issue is they have almost a principle that they wanted to shut down the government because they hate it so, and that's astounding," Schumer continued.

"So, anyone who thinks this is an accident that, oh, the president is equally to blame, oh no, the Tea Party planned this and very, very, very meticulously, and so far, successfully executed it, assuming that Speaker Boehner would go along with them which unfortunately was a correct assumption."

Schumer said the fallout is extending beyond federal government employees. "I mean, you can talk to the guy at the sandwich shop next to the Statue of Liberty, he's not selling any sandwiches. So, this is painful. And of course, it's painful even, you know, to all of us, our employees as well."

He added that he's had "a whole bunch of Republicans come over to me and say, look, this is bad. This shutdown is bad for either Republican Party, but even worse, they're principled people, bad for the country. How do we come to a compromise? And we are talking."

"The problem here is Speaker Boehner so far has been unwilling to break with the Tea Party, but let me make a prediction. When we get close to debt ceiling, he will have to break," Schumer added.

"...We gave in to them on the budget number and then there were more demands. That's what hostage -- that's what the Tea Party wants. They want the government to be shut down. Speaker Boehner has a responsibility to resist it. Not to come up with excuses, not to come up with deflections, we'll do this, we'll do that, but let the government be -- not default, let the government be funded, and then have the kind of negotiations that we've had -- this is different than in the last 220 years."