House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., traded shots with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday after Schumer said there had been "progress" in staff-level talks to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year and cut billions in spending.
"Senator Schumer's comments this morning that the negotiations on a long-term solution to fund the government for the remainder of the year are going well are completely far-fetched," Cantor said in a release.
Schumer, who heads Senate Democrats' communication and policy operations, also said on MSNBC's Morning Joe that "there's been progress made on the number. We've moved up from our $51 billion in cuts, they're moving down, and we're getting closer on the number."
A deal could come as soon as next week, given that there are only two weeks left before the current continuing resolution expires and the government shuts down—a scenario that both camps have said they want to avoid.
Schumer stuck to his guns after Cantor's statement was issued, insisting there had been some give by both sides on the level of cuts. Schumer continued to stress that a deal could be struck with moderates and urged GOP leaders to abandon the tea party wing of the caucus.
“After days of positive negotiations, with significant flexibility shown by the Speaker [John Boehner, R-Ohio], the House Republican leadership is back to agonizing over whether to give in to right-wing demands that they abandon any compromise on their extreme cuts,” Schumer said in a release issued Friday evening. “The speaker knows that when it comes to avoiding a shutdown, his problem is with the tea party, not Democrats. Instead of lashing out at Democrats in a knee-jerk way, we hope House Republicans will finally stand up to the tea party and resume the negotiations that had seemed so full of promise."
House Republicans and Senate Democrats remain at loggerheads over how much to cut from discretionary spending. The GOP proposal seeks to cut $61 billion over seven months from current levels, or $100 billion from President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget proposal—a promise that Republicans made during last year's campaign.
Senate Democrats proposed $4.7 billion in cuts from current levels, or $51 billion from Obama's request. Republicans argue that the Democratic proposal does not make enough cuts, while Democrats say the Republicans would decimate valued programs.
Both proposals failed to win enough support in the Senate earlier this month and now the two sides are looking to the other to make a second offer.
"If they have a plan, what is it?" Boehner asked in a release on Friday evening. "If Democrats don't have a plan, do they intend to shut down the government because they can't agree among themselves? The status quo is unacceptable, and right now that is all Washington Democrats are offering."
Cantor raised the specter of a shutdown in his criticism of Democratic senators.
"Senator Schumer and the White House continue to abandon their responsibility to get our fiscal house in order by negotiating off of the status quo and refusing to offer any sort of serious plan for how to cut spending," Cantor said. "House Republicans continue to offer serious solutions to get our fiscal house in order, but we cannot keep doing it alone. If Senators Reid and Schumer insist on shutting down the government because they want to protect every last dollar and cent of federal spending, then that will be on their hands."