House Republicans say Dems trying to run out clock on shutdown
By Molly K. Hooper and Julian Pecquet - 09/29/13 04:22 PM ET
House Republicans accused Democrats and President Obama of wanting to shut down the government for political gain Sunday afternoon.
A handful of GOP lawmakers gathered outside an empty Capitol building to implore the Senate to come back immediately and consider the funding bill that the House passed late Saturday night to avoid a government shutdown.
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) charged that his Democratic colleagues are playing politics with the government shutdown.
Calling it a "scorched-earth policy," Griffin said that he's learned from "high-level Democrats in town that this has been a plan for a while and I personally believe that Senator Reid and the president for political purposes want to shut down the government."
The fact that the Democrats in the Senate decided not to convene on Sunday is "all the evidence you need to know that they want to shut down the government," Griffin charged.
Holding a football in his hand, Griffin equated the Senate’s decision not to return on Sunday to vote on the House-passed funding bill – which includes provisions to delay parts of Obamacare – with “running out the clock” at a football game.
“This is the old football strategy – when you get to where you want to be in a football game, you run out the clock, because you think you like where you are, that’s exactly what’s going on here,” Griffin said.
“If they really cared if this government shutdown, they’d be back here,” he added.
Earlier in the day, a number of high-ranking Democrats took to the airwaves to hammer a message that the Republicans are employing a "government shutdown strategy."
The No. 2-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) charged his GOP colleagues with being "hell-bent" on employing a government shutdown.
Still, Senate leaders decided not to call the upper chamber back to Washington until 2 p.m. on Monday, 10 hours before the government will shut down if Congress and the president fail to reach an agreement on the short-term funding bill.
“Senate – get on back to town,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) demanded at the hastily called press conference.
Recent polling shows that a majority of Americans would blame Republicans for a potential government shutdown - a factor that could hurt the GOP in the voting booth next year.
Forty-four percent of individuals said they would blame Republicans if the government shuts down on Oct.1, according to a CBS/New York Times poll, while 35 percent of respondents would blame President Obama and congressional Democrats. The poll, conducted Sept. 19-23 among 1,014 adults nationwide, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.