Summers slammed the effort to prepare for a shutdown, arguing that Republicans should focus on the negotiations.
“Democrats remain committed to negotiating a solution that would prevent a government shutdown,” Summers said. “We hope Republicans will ignore the tea party’s demands for a shutdown and join us in a responsible compromise.”
GOP leaders used the meeting as an opportunity to stress their talking points. Republicans have been castigating Senate Democrats for not passing their own spending bill and have been pinning the blame on them for a potential government shutdown.
House Republicans were marching in lock step with their leadership after Monday’s Conference meeting.
When asked what message he thought Boehner would deliver to Obama on Tuesday, Rep. Frank Guinta said, “I don’t think it’ll be any different than what he’s been saying.”
The New Hampshire Republican also blamed the standoff on the Senate, saying that it was unclear whether a government shutdown could be avoided. “It’s to be determined. It’s really up to the Senate,” Guinta said.
Rep. Scott Garrett agreed, arguing that Republicans have not moved from their position that the Senate must pass the House’s original $61 billion worth of cuts, as well as a host of policy riders that were included in the bill, which is numbered HR 1.
“We want to do HR 1. The Conference is still there, the Conference still wants to do the [$61 billion in cuts], the Conference still wants to keep the same policy positions,” the New Jersey Republican said.
Rep. Mike Simpson, an appropriator, said that the panel is “working on so many different alternatives” in the negotiations and that GOP leaders are doing “everything we can to avoid the government shutdown.”
“If it is shut down, it is because Harry Reid refuses to negotiate in good faith,” the Idaho Republican said.
A number of Republicans said it remains unclear whether the Conference will support another short-term CR if a deal on a longer-term bill is not reached by the end of the week.
“That is the $64,000 question,” Garrett said.
Simpson said he would be willing to support a short-term continuing resolution if it would keep the government running, if it included substantial funding reductions and if negotiators were making progress on a bill to finish out the fiscal year.
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) said he was hopeful a government shutdown could be averted, adding, “My constituents don’t want the government shut down.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.