Republicans in the Missouri Congressional delegation insists they can press for federal spending cuts without forcing a federal government shutdown.
A two-week extension in budget negotiations in Washington ends March 18th. Republicans and Democrats continue to negotiate on Capitol Hill. Republicans succeeded in wrangling $4 billion in cuts when they agreed to the extension, but want more before agreeing to legislation to keep the government running until the end of the federal fiscal year, September 30th.
Northeast Missouri Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer says Republicans will be reasonable in the budget talks.
“We have to start this debate. We have to start this discussion,” Luetkemeyer tells the Missourinet. “And, again, if the Senate is willing to step up to the plate and discuss these cuts that we propose, we’re willing to discuss them. But the principle is that we have to start the discussion, we have to start the debate on getting these things under control and that’s what we are wanting to do.”
The House has proposed $61 billion in budget cuts through the remainder of the current fiscal year. Democrats in the Senate and President Obama balked at the number, arguing that such deep cuts would imperil vital programs and cripple the economic recovery. The clock is ticking as the two sides seek a budget compromise.
Freshman Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of west-central Missouri says Democrats won’t be able to blame Republicans this time if the government does shut down.
“Well, the reality is if it shuts down, it’s not because of the Republicans, it will be the Democrats,” Hartzler tells us. “We’ve done our part. We’ve passed the resolution. We’re going to continue to do our part. So, if it shuts down, it’ll be the Democrats’ fault and we’ll see how the American people view that.”
Republicans took much of the blame in 1995 and 1996 when they locked horns with President Clinton, resulting in a shutdown. Memories of the effect of that stand-off make Republicans cautious of instigating another.
Northwest Missouri Congressman Sam Graves doesn’t expect that to happen this year, but if it does…
“You know, if it comes to the point where the government ends up getting shut down, then that’s what we’re going to have to do,” Graves says in an interview with the Missourinet, “because we don’t have any money. We do not have any money.”