Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal jumped into the congressional budget battle on Tuesday, saying a spending compromise would not be possible unless House Speaker John Boehner cuts loose the “extreme right-wing” members of his House majority.
Blumenthal’s comments came during a media conference call that also featured three other Senate Democrats: California’s Barbara Boxer, Maryland’s Ben Cardin, and Delaware’s Tom Carper.
Before the call officially began, however, some reporters were inadvertently able to hear the senators getting talking points from Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a top party strategist.
“The main thrust is that we want to negotiate and we want to come up with a compromise, but the Tea Party is pulling Boehner too far over to the right,” Schumer advised his colleagues. “Boehner’s in a box.”
Schumer said he had been “instructed by the conference” to use the word “extreme,” in reference to the GOP’s budget proposal, which calls for cutting $61 billion from current spending levels.
When the technical glitch was fixed and the media call officially got underway, Blumenthal and the others were right on message. Boxer used the word extreme at least three times, as did Blumenthal.
The Connecticut Democrat didn’t use the “Boehner’s in a box” analogy but found his own more evocative one.
“The anchor around the neck of these negotiations is a relatively small extreme group of ideologues on the Republican side,” Blumenthal said. “They are an anchor that needs to be cut loose. Only Speaker Boehner can do it and he needs to do it now. Otherwise we will have a shutdown.”