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 SchumerCruz: 'Schumer and the Democrats want a shutdown' GOP fundraiser enters crowded primary for Pa. Senate seat Dems: Trump risks government shutdown over border wall 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 DurbinLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Senators warn of 'dangerous' cuts to International Affairs Budget MORE (D-Ill.) both said Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) had offered standalone votes on the riders in the Senate, only to be rebuffed by House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio).
“Harry Reid offered that to BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection 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.