From TheHill.com :
Reid warns Republicans against government shutdown
By J. Taylor Rushing
Posted: 09/08/08 04:09 PM [ET]
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cautioned Republicans Monday against forcing a government shutdown over expanded oil drilling while noting increased support for bipartisan energy legislation. As the Senate resumed business for the final three weeks of the 110th Congress, Reid cited 22 senators from both parties who now back the compromise package, which would allow four southeastern states to expand drilling and also calls for $84 billion in conservation and efficiency investments.
With no appropriations bills signed by President Bush, lawmakers’ chief task this month is to pass a stopgap measure to fund the federal government in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.Republicans are mulling whether to press the offshore oil drilling fight by blocking the funding resolution, which contains the congressional moratorium on such drilling. Reid reminded the GOP that its government shutdown led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) during the Clinton administration was met with widespread public disapproval."We are not interested in any games being played [with the funding measure]," Reid said. "We simply want to make sure the government is allowed to function. There have been Republicans saying what they want to do is close down the government. I would hope that some of those people have read very recent history where Gingrich tried to do that and it didn't work out well for the Republicans and certainly didn't work out well for this country."Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged the chamber to follow a busy three-week schedule, calling for alternative-energy tax measures, an Alternative Minimum Tax fix and expanded oil drilling proposals."I’m confident, after spending the past month away from Washington, that if we did little else these next few weeks but pass a serious response to high gas prices, fund the government and protect taxpayers, the American people would view these next few weeks as extremely productive," McConnell said. Reid also wants other businesses in front of the Senate. He made a pitch for the Department of Defense authorization measure that the chamber will take up Monday, as well as a second economic stimulus he hopes senators will take up before they are expected to adjourn, on Sept. 26.
Republicans have been blocking such measures in an attempt to force a debate on offshore drilling. "We want to get on the bill, we want to get the bill passed," Reid said. "This is not an opportunity for people to vent their frustration on all the issues that are floating around this country."