The tea party is at fault for holding up progress on government funding, said House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and potential GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday.
In an appearance on CNN’s American Morning, Van Hollen said the tea party faction of the House GOP would be to blame if the House and Senate can't come to a compromise to fund the government past April 8. He also said he hopes “cooler heads” like Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will prevail over hard-line tea party members holding out for their benchmark of $61 billion in fiscal 2011 cuts. Ryan unveils his sweeping budget proposal for fiscal 2012 on Tuesday.
“What you have right now is the tea party wing of the Republican Party in the House saying, ‘It’s our way or it’s a shutdown; you’ve got to get 100 percent of what we demanded or we’re going to shut down the government,’” he said. “I really hope that cooler heads on the House Republican side will prevail, because a shutdown... is a terrible thing to do right when the economy is still in fragile recovery.”
Giuliani similarly spoke of the tea party's sway during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Speaker John Boehner, he said, finds himself in a tough spot due to the tea party's budget-cutting zeal and an unwillingness to compromise by some freshman Republicans.
"John Boehner is being pulled now by freshman Republicans. He's probably in the toughest position," Giuliani said. "I would think John Boehner agrees completely you shouldn't shut it down. He's got a membership that got elected on a very extreme cut-the-budget, cut-spending, cut-taxes platform, and some of them believe that the only way to do this is close the government."
Van Hollen advised Republicans less obliging to Democrats’ cuts to “broaden the field and look at some of the big subsidies, like those to agriculture... the oil and gas industry, taxpayer giveaways... they only want to argue about this one little piece of the budget that deals with education funding, that deals with things like research into cancer, so they refuse to broaden the conversation, and that is creating the problems.”
Clifford Marks contributed contributed to this article.