WASHINGTON -- Democrats have not done a good job explaining how they have compromised in the government shutdown fight, insisting they will not negotiate dismantling Obamacare in a funding bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has lately been making the point that the short-term spending bill that the House now refuses to give a vote was the result of a compromise cut with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). The basic deal was that Democrats would accept the GOP's sequester-level spending levels to buy time to fund the rest of the year.
Lost in all the rhetoric is that Democrats faced serious backlash from their base for cutting that deal.
"We got hammered," said one Senate Democratic aide.
For instance, the Center For American Progress, stocked with former Obama administration staffers, lambasted the deal after it leaked in a lengthy paper, titled "The Dirty Truth About Boehner’s ‘Clean’ Continuing Resolution."
"It is easy to see why this approach would be attractive to Speaker Boehner and the Tea Party; it is much harder to understand why any progressive or centrist would support such an approach," wrote Neera Tanden, the group's president, and Michael Linden, its top economic analyst.
Of course, Congress should do everything within reason to avoid a government shutdown. A shutdown would have painful consequences for the American people and the American economy. At the same time, Congress must resist unreasonable demands to make further damaging cuts to important investments in our economic future, such as education and scientific research; basic public safety protections, such as food and drug inspections and law enforcement; or services that help support struggling families. These services, programs, and investments have already suffered from enormous cuts -- and we are likely to feel the ramifications for years. Yet even more cuts are embedded within Speaker Boehner’s continuing-resolution proposal.
The whole CAP report is here. Printed on Sept. 10 -- 20 days before the shutdown -- it explains in detail why Democrats hated what it described as the Boehner plan, and gives a good idea of the compromises made by Democrats.