ABC Preemptively Hits GOP for 'Steep Price' of Possible Government Shutdown

Although a government shutdown hasn't occurred yet, ABC's Good Morning America has already begun showcasing the possible dire impacts of such a budget impasse.  Reporter Jake Tapper highlighted White House worries about "figuring out what this will mean in terms of parks that are closed, museums that are closed, veterans that are not able to get assistance for their benefits..."

Correspondent Jon Karl, in the same segment, warned that although a possible deal could fund the government for another week, "...It would also come at a steep price. Republicans are demanding $12 billion in spending cuts just for that one week of funding."

Karl, Tapper and co-anchor George Stephanopoulos repeatedly put the emphasis on the GOP's responsibility for a shutdown, not on Barack Obama to find more cuts to make. Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, responded to Karl's remark on the $12 billion by declaring "that's not going to fly with the White House."

Tapper highlighted liberal finger pointing on a potential shutdown: "Well, from the perspective of Democrats close to the process, I can say that there is a concern that House Speaker John Boehner just simply does not control the Republicans in his caucus."

A transcript of the April 5 segment can be found below:

ABC GRAPHIC: Government Shutdown Looming: Republicans Want Trillions in Cuts

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: The chance of a government shutdown this weekend appeared to go up pretty dramatically. So, I want to bring in our congressional correspondents Jake Tapper and Jon Karl with these latest developments. And, Jake, let me begin with you. The White House had been resisting any planning for a possible shutdown, but last night a directive goes out to government agencies telling them to get ready.

JAKE TAPPER: That's exactly right. The Office of Management and Budget set out a notice to agencies and department heads telling them to prepare their senior managers for their contingency plans for a government shutdown. The White House is still sussing out, figuring out what this will mean in terms of parks that are closed, museums that are closed, veterans that are not able to get assistance for their benefits, but they are now preparing for this contingency, George.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jon, meanwhile, a late night meeting yesterday in the House among House Republicans as well where they come up with a new proposal to avert a shutdown, but also to begin preparing their members for a shutdown.


JON KARL: Yeah. They're putting out guidance today to all congressional offices saying that essential personal must stay home. And, George, that's more than half the people that work here on Capitol Hill, the visitor's center will close. This place will essentially grind to a halt. This proposal they've put forth will try to prevent that would fund the government for another week, also fund the Pentagon for the rest of the year. But, George, it would also come at a steep price. Republicans are demanding $12 billion in spending cuts just for that one week of funding.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Jake, that's not going to fly with the White House. Last week they had been making a lot of progress and then over the weekend everything stalled. The President calling both sides to the White House late this morning. From the White House perspective, what is the big sticking point to a deal?

TAPPER: Well, from the perspective of Democrats close to the process, I can say that there is a concern that House Speaker John Boehner just simply does not control the Republicans in his caucus. So, the negotiations that are going on right now, which are going on at the staff level, you might remember in December, Vice President Biden negotiated specifically with the Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, but these negations are going on at the staff level. Democrats say Speaker Boehner doesn't want to even be seen as negotiating with the White House. But, then there's the concern that what is negotiated Speaker Boehner doesn't even know if his Republican caucus will sign off on it until he meets with them.  So, that's the big concern.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That he couldn't sell it. Right. And that's why, Jon, yesterday you saw Speaker Boehner say the $33 billion target was not good enough, that it was not something he had agreed to and it comes as his leadership puts out a new long term budget that has massive savings, close to six trillion dollars.

KARL: Yeah, George. So, we're squabbling right now over a few billion dollars. Republicans want a little bit more than that. $33 billion for the rest of the year. But this new budget released today by Paul Ryan, the Republican budget chairman is $6.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next year, next ten years. Far more than anything we're talking about here.


                              

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org