ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
There may or may not be a government shutdown at midnight tonight, but some Democrats already know who they’ll blame.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said that while a shutdown would be “bad for everybody,” the public will judge House Speaker John Boehner as the main reason why it’s happening.
“I think they're understanding that Speaker Boehner's unwillingness to deviate from these ideological riders because the Tea Party has him sort of as almost a hostage -- they'll understand that,” Schumer told us.
Of Boehner’s statement this week to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “there’s no daylight between the tea party and me,” Schumer said. “I wouldn't have said that if I were him. Tea Party is not so popular in the US.”
Whether or not there’s a shutdown, he said, “really depends on one man: John Boehner. He's caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock are the tea party hard-line Congress members. … But the other direction is he's the head of the Republican Party. And he knows if a shutdown occurs -- and if it occurs because of these non-ideological riders like women's health -- he will look awful.”
“So he's stuck between a rock and a hard place. And if you wanted to get a bird's eye view of what's happening, you should be inside Speaker Boehner's brain. That's the only way to tell what's going to happen.”
Schumer asserted that Boehner offered President Obama a firm number for budget cuts – suggesting an agreement that Boehner and his staff say does not exist.
“At the White House last night, Speaker Boehner offered a number: $78 billion -- $78 billion in cuts. The president said we'll take that. And they spent all the rest of the time on the riders. The issue is not spending, but I understand where Speaker Boehner is. If everyone knew it was these riders he'd be in real trouble because no one thinks these riders belong on this bill. And so if it's really spending he should get up and pledge right now, 'I will take the riders off.' ”
While Democrats are vowing to oppose the GOP effort to strip all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, Schumer suggested that if Republicans drop that particular budget “rider,” Democrats could agree to others – including, possibly, a bid to ban the District of Columbia from using public funds to pay for abortions.
“I am pro-choice and I don't like swallowing any of these. But the one rider that is the bone of contention is Title X [funding for Planned Parenthood],” Schumer said. “If Title X were to go, there would be some agreement on other riders. And there'd be some, I'm not saying which, that we don’t like that we would accept, and many that they like that they'd have to knock off.”
Watch the full “Top Line” interview with Sen. Charles Schumer.