By Mike Lillis
House leaders of both parties said Tuesday that compromise on a government spending bill remained out of reach, with Republicans indicating a short-term funding measure would be necessary before Friday’s deadline.
Top Democrats said that conservative amendments to the year-end bill have stalled talks, risking of a Dec. 11 shutdown.
"Right now it is a nonstarter because of the riders that are in it," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after leaving a closed-door meeting of her caucus in the Capitol. "But we're hopeful, we're hopeful that we can find a path on it."
The ball, she said, is now in Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanLobbying World New York Times editors back Puerto Rico bill GOP senator to Ryan: 'Trump is where the Republicans are’ MORE's (R-Wis.) court.
Republicans have vowed to stay in town as long as it takes to finish work on the omnibus and said they would not allow the government to shut down.
Ryan’s top deputy, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), on Monday raised the possibility of a rare weekend session to give the lower chamber more time to finish the spending bill and other end-of-year business.
“I’m seriously looking at having us in on Friday and maybe even this weekend to get our work done,” McCarthy, who controls the floor schedule, said during a briefing with reporters.
Lowey suggested a deal on the omnibus — which aides have been negotiating around the clock — was nearly at hand, until Ryan sought to link it to another measure that would renew a slate of expired tax breaks.
"In Appropriations, we were ready to move ahead. In fact, the expectation was that we were going to vote for it on Wednesday," Lowey said of the omnibus. "And then they decided to mix up the tax extenders with the omnibus, and we'll see where the Speaker wants to go.
"Why is it in his hands?” she asked. "Because he runs this place. The Democrats don't run it. And until the Speaker and Sen. [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] are ready to put this together, we cannot move forward."
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), a top Democratic appropriator, said the Republican riders continue to be the sticking point.
"There's nothing happening, nothing happening," DeLauro said.
Asked where the negotiations are currently happening, Pelosi was nebulous.
"It's at every level," she said.
Without congressional action, large parts of the federal government will close after Friday.
The White House on Tuesday reiterated that President Obama will not sign a continuing resolution that lasts beyond a few days if lawmakers do not complete a budget deal by Friday.
“We have been clear that if members of Congress need an extra day or two to pass legislation, that the president would ensure the government would not shut down," press secretary Josh Earnest said.
“The president is not going to sign a piece of legislation to give them more time to negotiate on a set of ideological riders," he added. "Those riders should not be part of the process."
One issue that is likely to be addressed in the omnibus is the visa-waiver program, which allows people from 38 countries to visit the United States on an expedited basis.
In the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and California, the House is set Tuesday to approve new restrictions on the waivers in a bid to prevent the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from infiltrating the United States.
“Today the House will vote to strengthen the nation’s visa-waiver program. ... This will help neutralize the threat of foreign terrorists entering the country. We expect this to be another big, bipartisan vote,” Ryan said Tuesday.
- Scott Wong and Jordan Fabian contributed.