by Kimberly Schwandt | March 29, 2011
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said he was thankful after Sen. Charles Schumer accidentally spoke before a recorded conference call started.
“Chuck Schumer did us a favor. He exposed their tactic. He’s telling his members to deem any spending cut as unreasonable. I don’t see how we can do anything if they’re not set serious.” Cantor said.
Schumer had scheduled a conference call with reporters, but apparently didn’t realize journalists were already on and started giving off pointers on how to talk to reporters about the budget process.
Like many other news outlets, Fox News was rolling on the conference call ahead of time and caught the Schumer misstep.
He expressed appreciation for lawmakers getting on the call and then lashed into Republicans and told fellow Democrats that they should frame the GOP view as “extreme” and associated with the Tea Party.
“[I] always use the word extreme, that’s what the caucus instructed me to do the other week, extreme cuts and all these riders, and [House Speaker] Boehner’s in a box. But if he supports the Tea Party there’s going to inevitably [be] a shutdown,” Schumer could be heard saying.
At this point the line goes silent and reporters can be heard asking what happened and others remarking that they were listening to something that was not meant for them.
The call did finally go on as planned and the word “extreme” was eventually used. Democratic Sens. Boxer, Cardin, Carper and Blumenthal weighed in on the issue, stressing the urgency of the matter and that both sides will have to compromise.
Lawmakers are embroiled in a tough showdown over the budget, and facing another Continuing Resolution that will keep the government funded for a short amount of time or face a shutdown.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also referenced the call in a news conference saying that while Schumer is framing the conversation, they’ve actually been doing leg work on the issue.
Fox New’s Jake Gibson, Chad Pergram and Trish Turner contributed to this report.