An agreement to avert a government shutdown is near “impossible” unless Republicans drop policy riders from a funding bill, leading Senate Democrats said Thursday.
“Unless they back off those riders it’s going to be impossible, pretty much, to prevent a shutdown,” said Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDemocrats and the boycott of Trump's inauguration The Hill's 12:30 Report Why Democrats fear a successful inaugural address from Trump MORE (D-N.Y.), the party's messaging chief, following a caucus meeting.
Democrats throughout Thursday have characterized the riders to strip federal funds for Planned Parenthood and parts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the key sticking point in negotiations on a spending measure to fund government the rest of the fiscal year.
Schumer and Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinJustice requires higher standard than Sessions Warren burns Mnuchin over failure to disclose assets Trump Treasury pick to defend foreclosure record MORE (D-Ill.) both said Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidFranken emerges as liberal force in hearings GOP eyes new push to break up California court The DC bubble is strangling the DNC MORE (D-Nev.) had offered standalone votes on the riders in the Senate, only to be rebuffed by House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLast Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions An anti-government ideologue like Mulvaney shouldn't run OMB MORE (R-Ohio).
“Harry Reid offered that to BoehnerJohn BoehnerLast Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions An anti-government ideologue like Mulvaney shouldn't run OMB MORE,” Durbin said. “We're going to make this offer, and we have.”
Republicans have denied that the riders are the main sticking point, as well as Democratic claims that a basic agreement on spending had been reached.
“Maybe a promise could be made to let all those riders come up for a vote separately,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). “I think there's a willingness in this caucus to have that be offered.”
House Republicans who insist on including those riders in the current spending fight likely realize that the most controversial provisions, such as the Planned Parenthood and EPA measures, would likely fail in the Senate. That chamber’s rules would require 60 votes to surpass procedural obstacles.
Democrats are mindful of that.
“They know their riders can't pass the Senate,” Schumer said.