Tea Party Demands Blamed For Nearing Gov’t Standoff

September 26, 2011


WASHINGTON — Republican leaders are putting the demands of 30 Tea Party members over 300 million Americans, a top White House adviser said Sunday, insisting that Congress pass a resolution to keep government functioning and approve President Obama’s jobs plan.

Senior adviser David Plouffe, who managed the president’s 2008 campaign, said the Tea Party is controlling the debate in Congress, even as it comes close to a government shutdown over how to pay for disaster relief as part of a continuing resolution to keep government operating.

“We’re not going to make progress on the deficit, on things we can do right now for jobs, on tax cuts, unless those 30 or 40 Tea Party members of the Republican House stop being the focal point of our discussion,” Plouffe said.

Senate Democrats on Friday defeated a House GOP-backed stopgap continuing resolution to fund the government through Nov. 18 by a vote of 59-36. The $1.04 trillion measure contained $3.7 billion for disaster aid, $200 million of which was offset by cuts to green energy programs, including a loan account that once helped fund the now-defunct, controversial solar panel firm Solyndra.

Without a continuing resolution, government is set to shut down on Friday. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund is poised to run out of cash by Tuesday, if not earlier, with the account at the dangerously-low level of $175 million, according to Senate aides.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has offered a substitute for the CR that strips the offsets, and a procedural vote is set for Monday night in the Senate. But the chamber’s GOP leader, Mitch McConnell, predicted that bill’s demise.

“Our friends on the other side don’t like the idea. They’d rather just add these funds to the deficit. Why?,” McConnell asked on Friday. “Because they say that’s the way we’ve always done things around here. Well, I think there’s a lesson we can draw from the debates we’ve been having here over the last six months, is that the American people won’t accept that excuse any longer.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaking after Plouffe on Sunday, said the government is not in danger of shutdown because Americans want a deal on disaster relief, but suggested Reid take up the House proposal because it provides a plan for paying for disasters while also cutting government “in other places where the money is not so important.”

“We can’t borrow money every time something bad goes wrong in America. Are you able to borrow money every time something bad goes with your business or your family? You have to have priorities. That’s something we don’t seem to accept up here,” Graham said.

But Plouffe said the debt-ceiling negotiations have already set a floor for deficit reductions, and the CR should not be controversial.

It is a “basic function of Congress to keep the government running,” he said, adding that lawmakers shouldn’t “play politics” by tying disaster aid to offsets that critics say will force job cuts.

“Stop playing politics, do the right thing for the country and let’s make sure that we are not playing politics with disasters,” he said.

To read more, visit: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/25/white-house-aide-upper-income-dont-pay-fair-share-taxes/#ixzz1Z0mavgxO

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