“I am extremely disappointed that after weeks of productive negotiations with Speaker Boehner, Tea Party Republicans are scrapping all the progress we have made and threatening to shut down the government if they do not get all of their extreme demands,” the Nevada Democrat said in a statement. “The division between the Tea Party and mainstream Republicans is preventing us from reaching a responsible solution on a long-term budget that will make smart cuts while protecting American jobs, and prevented negotiations from taking place over the weekend even as the clock ticks toward a government shutdown.
“Apparently these extremists would rather shut down the government and risk sending our economy back into a recession than work with Democrats or even their own leadership to find a responsible compromise.”
So the "Tea Party" is somehow responsible for Democrats' inability to play ball on reasonable spending cuts? Let's review a few facts:
(1) Republicans (who, as Democrats will tell you, are synonymous with the Tea Party) have on three separate occasions displayed leadership by voting to avert a government shutdown.
(2) The "extreme demands" Reid is denouncing amount to a $61 Billion cut from a $1.6 Trillion 2011 budget deficit. That's four percent of this year's deficit. That's roughly 1/4 of our federal budget shortfall in February.
(3) Senate Democrats defeated the House-passed 2011 CR last month, then torpedoed their own leadership's alternative (I'm looking at you, Harry Reid) by an even larger margin.
(4) The only reason Republicans are able to make any "extreme demands" about how best to fund the federal government right now is because Democrats deliberately chose to abandon their duty to pass a budget last year -- when they controlled the House, Senate, and White House. In fact, they didn't even introduce one.
(5) We're broke, and Republicans' proposed cuts are extremely modest. Here are three visual aids to help drive home this point:
UPDATE - Another original idea from Democrats: Hey, let's raise taxes!