Congress this week agreed to a continuing resolution that avoided a government shutdown and will fund the federal government through March 18. While the budget talks are ongoing, the two sides appear to be moving farther away from consensus, at least based on our conversations with two members of Congress at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
"What we need to do is draw a line in the sand so when we go to negotiate the next continuing resolution...we must include language that not only currently defunds Obamacare, but we have to claw back and bring back that $105 billion that's already been appropriated," says Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). "That's a must do."
According to Rep. Bachmann, the $105 billion appropriation to fund Obamacare was surreptitiously inserted into bill. Although Congress approved the bill last March, she says the spending implications have only just become clear. "This is what I would consider legislative fraud and legislative malpractice," Rep. Bachmann says. "It's unconscionable. It's a lie."
To be clear, Rep. Bachmann says that $105 billion much be clawed back in addition to the $100 billion of spending cuts she and other Republicans campaigned on in 2010.
"If they insist on this there could be a shutdown," says liberal icon Barney Frank (D-Mass.). As you'd expect, Rep. Frank sees the situation quite differently and believes Rep. Bachmann is wholly misguided.
"Our chances of avoiding a shutdown depend on [Republicans] coming to terms with the American Constitution," Rep. Frank says. "Having won the last election entitles them to a significant influence on the outcome [of legislation], but it doesn't say they dictate it."
Stay tuned for additional segments from the respective interviews with Reps. Bachmann and Frank.