The climate on Capitol Hill has gone from partisan to agitated to tense. The standoff over reopening the government and ensuring the nation avoids a debt default is enough to make even the most level-headed lawmakers blow a gasket.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., on Tuesday dropped his typically measured veneer when approached by reporters. He was asked several questions about the ramifications of a government shutdown on the Defense Department.
Levin seemed to consciously let his temper — or what’s left of it — show, blasting House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
“What’s his answer for why he hasn’t brought [a Senate-passed continuing resolution] to a vote?!” Levin barked at reporters. “Well, what is it?!”
When one scribe told the SASC chairman what he already knew, that Boehner on ABC’s “This Week” program said it’s because the bill lacks ample votes to pass in the House, Levin again got emotional.
“That’s not an answer!” Levin roared, saying bluntly that he believes Boehner isn’t being straight about his CR vote counting.
The SASC chairman’s arms waved wildly as he spoke, and his necktie swayed rapidly as Levin slammed Boehner and reporters for giving the speaker a pass.
The typically reserved Levin called Boehner’s answers on not bringing the Senate’s government-wide funding bill to the floor “shameful.”
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