House Democrats amplify criticism of Boehner for shutdown

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 10/8/2013, 2:10 p.m.
House Democratic leaders Tuesday sought to show party solidarity by continuing to blame congressional Republicans, specifically House Speaker John Boehner, ...
House Speaker John Boehner

By CNN's Chloe Sommers

House Democratic leaders Tuesday sought to show party solidarity by continuing to blame congressional Republicans, specifically House Speaker John Boehner, for the partial government shutdown.

Following a caucus leadership meeting, Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly compared Boehner's influence over the House to a 19th century monarch.

"He's in charge and he has enabled if not encouraged this reckless behavior and it's time for him to lead and to be the speaker, the title of which he possesses," said Connolly. "In the 19th century, in Russia, when workers were persecuted they gave the benefit of the doubt to the czar and the expression often used was 'if only the czar knew' but of course it was the czar who was behind the programs. Now we've got to stop giving the benefit of the doubt to John Boehner."

Rep. Jim Crowley, the vice chair of the Democratic House Caucus, Jim Crowley, also pointed fingers at Boehner.

"We've been talking for quite some time now that Mr. Boehner has either enabled the tea party faction of his caucus to run the caucus or maybe it's part of his plan, maybe this is not the tea party shutdown as it is Speaker Boehner's shutdown. Either way, the responsibility falls at his feet," Crowley explained.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, chairman of the caucus, expressed his frustration with Boehner's decision not to bring up a 'clean' CR, or a continuing resolution without any Republican attachments.

"For whatever reason Republican Speaker John Boehner and our Republican colleagues have refused to allow all 433 of us a chance to vote on the floor of the House of Representatives to reopen our government,' and apparently Rep. Becerra is keeping count of who would vote and which way, adding, "it's not now one, not two not three but some six to eight independent news organizations which have verified that there are enough votes today in the House of Representatives to reopen our government but yet Republican Speaker John Boehner refuses to allow members of Congress to exercise their obligation and to vote to open this government."

Boehner, with the Republican House conference standing behind him, said Tuesday that it was the Democrats and the president who are hindering progress in ending the government shutdown.

"Americans expect us to work out our differences but refusing to negotiate is an untenable position and frankly by refusing to negotiate Harry Reid and the president are putting our country on a pretty dangerous path. Listen, there's never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit. Never. Not once," stated the House Speaker.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 200 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the House would vote for a clean continuing resolution to reopen the federal government, according to an on-going CNN survey of House members.