Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Republican leadership should “step up and put these extremists in their place so that we can govern like adults” while trying to pass funding to keep the government running.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) proposed to the GOP caucus behind closed doors that a viable strategy would be to pass funding for most of the government through September and leave the department that would fund Obama’s immigration executive action, Homeland Security, on a short-term spending approval.
The move would basically punt the immigration standoff to next year when Republicans have control of both houses of Congress.
“I think they understand that it’s going to be difficult to take meaningful action as long as we’ve got Democratic control in the Senate,” Boehner told reporters.
“Listen, we’re taking a look at a number of options in terms of how we address this. Now, this is a serious breach of our Constitution — it’s a serious threat to our system of government and frankly we have limited options and limited abilities to deal with it directly,” he said. “But that’s why we’re continuing to talk to our members. We have not made and decisions on how we are going to proceed, but we are in fact going to proceed.”
Reid emerged from his policy luncheon with “just a gentle reminder — nine days, the government runs out of money.”
He also stressed that Democrats want “a long-term omnibus dealing with all of our appropriation bills,” meaning they could put their foot down over Boehner’s short-term DHS funding plan.
“I think it would be quite a burden for the Republicans to bear if the first thing out of the box is government being unfunded,” Reid said. “…There’re still factions within the Republican Party who want to take these extreme measures. We read about them and hear about them everyday. So there’s nothing new in this instance.”
“But for these extremists, there’s always a reason to try and poke the president. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. At some point, it’ll be time for responsible Republicans to step up and put these extremists in their place so that we can govern like adults. I hope this will happen sooner rather than later.”
Reid called it “kind of unfortunate they’re talking about not doing Homeland Security, but that’s the way it is.”
Still, it wouldn’t be an automatic rejection from his caucus, Reid said.
“I think it’s a shame that they’re not going to include the very important Homeland Security appropriation bill, but I understand why they’re doing it. We’ll take a look at it,” he said. “We’ve had a long discussion in caucus. Let’s see what they send us, what’s in it, and we’ll make that decision then.”