Republicans in Washington are looking for an escape from the partial government shutdown and are turning to Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, he told reporters today.
“I think this is damaging for the Republican Party and it’s not just me who does, countless mainstream conservatives–not moderates,” Mr. Schumer said at an endorsement press conference in Brooklyn this morning. “Republicans have told me the same thing and they’re talking to me about trying to figure out ways out of this.”
Mr. Schumer’s comments came after he lent his backing to Brooklyn district attorney candidate Ken Thompson, who is suddenly facing a primary challenger in the general election. But reporters were far more interested in quizzing Mr. Schumer on the shutdown, which he said is quickly being blamed on the Tea Party.
“I think the American public, their first instinct is, ‘Can’t you guys together solve it?’ When they study it a little deeper they see the intransigence of the Tea Party who wants a shutdown and realize that it’s that side to blame,” he argued.
Still, Mr. Schumer repeated his optimistic prediction that the shutdown, nearly a week old, will end when Congress votes to raise the debt limit ceiling by October 17. He also reiterated his claim that enough votes exist in the Republican-controlled House to pass a measure to fund the government without touching President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation. (Republican Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that he didn’t have enough votes for a so-called “clean” bill.)
While Mr. Schumer wouldn’t predict whether Republicans would lose the House next year because of public backlash over the shutdown, he argued the GOP could suffer in the short and long-term.
“The shutdown upsets everybody and they’re not happy with anybody,” he said. “More people blame the Tea Party and their intransigence than anything else.”