Jerry Hartz, a top aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, predicted a government shutdown is more likely than not to arise from the escalating struggle in congress over government spending, according to a report released by Politico on Friday.
Hartz reportedly weighed in on the contentious issue at a routine meeting with Democratic chiefs of staff. According to Politico, his remarks were unsolicited. One unidentified chief of staff told the outlet the remarks appeared to reflect a "genuine" concern.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) upped the chances of a government shutdown Thursday, saying he would not support a short-term funding bill if his near-certain budget battle between the House and the Democratic-run Senate takes longer than two weeks.
As the clock ticks down to March 4, when the current stopgap funding measure expires, Boehner shot down what many considered to be the surest way to keep government agencies running while the two chambers hammer out the differences between their respective spending bills.
"We are hopeful that the Senate will take up the House‑passed bill that comes out of here today, tonight, tomorrow morning, whenever it is, and we hope that they will move it," he said at a press conference. "But I am not going to move any kind of short‑term CR at current levels. When we say we're going to cut spending, read my lips: We are going to cut spending."
The AP reported the same day:
But moments later, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., retorted that Boehner was resorting "to threats of a shutdown without any negotiation." Officials added that Democrats would seek a short-term bill without any cut in spending levels, a position sharply at odds with Boehner's.
The sparring occurred as the House labored to complete work on veto-threatened legislation to cut more than $61 billion from the budget year that's more than a third over. That bill also would provide funding to keep the government operating until Sept. 30.
The Hill reported on Thursday that Pelosi urged her Republican colleagues to direct their energy toward finding a solution "to keep government open" rather than making "ultimatums" and aiming to "shut it down."
"So much is at stake," Pelosi reportedly told reporters. Speaking on what a government shutdown would say about House GOP leaders, according to The Hill, she said, "It's a failure to say we've taken the leadership of the United States and the first thing we're going to do is shut down the government to the detriment of our people [and] to our security."