WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The Senate has taken the lead from the House in attempting to devise a plan to reopen the government and avoid a potential default in the coming week.
Speaking with Bob Schieffer on Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he is “cautiously hopeful” that the Senate can pick up where House negotiations have become deadlocked, and hopefully avoid the continued government shutdown through bipartisan Senate discussion.
“I’m cautiously hopeful, optimistic that we can come to an agreement and open up the government and avoid default based on the bipartisan meetings that are going on,” Schumer said on “Face the Nation.”
Between President Obama, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans, Schumer said, “There’s a will, we now have to find a way, we know the House won’t find that way, so all of it rests on our shoulders.”
The Democratic Policy Committee Chairman and member of the Senate Finance Committee said that much of the debate centers around how the parties are defining revenue and entitlement cuts. Adding that neither Democrats nor Republicans like the sequester, noting Sen. John McCain’s staunch opposition to cuts to defense.
Schieffer asked if there was something that could be given to House Speaker John Boehner in order to appease Tea Party and more right-wing conservative members of the house to “bring them along.”
“You hit the nail on the head, no one’s sure what will bring those people along. I think there’s a feeling amongst senate Republicans – whether it be Sen. Mcconnell, Sen. McCain, Sen. Collins – that if we can get a broad bipartisan majority to pass something in the next few days it may help crack the logjam in the House,” said Schumer.
“And of course, Speaker Boehner wouldn’t get the 40 or so people on the hard right to go along, but could get a lot of his mainstream Republicans,” continued Schumer. “I think these mainstream republicans are getting fed up with the Tea Party and Ted Cruz, they see where’s it’s leading them, to very low poll numbers.”
Schumer stated that some in the Senate believe that Speaker Boehner can’t lead, “but if the Senate leads, he could follow our lead.”
Schumer suggested that the government be opened for a period of time before the January sequester so that serious bipartisan discussions could continue.
He added that he hopes more centrist Republicans “break” from the more conservative faction of the party.
“When your party is doing as poorly as it has, mainly because they’ve let Ted Cruz and the Tea Party-type thinking lead them around – you break from that.”