Schumer warns GOP over 'poison pill riders'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration White House: Trump remarks didn't derail shutdown talks Schumer defends Durbin after GOP senator questions account of Trump meeting MORE (D-N.Y.) warned Republicans Wednesday that a push to add controversial policies to spending bills could shut down the appropriations process.

"The appropriations process is not the place to jam through ideological poison pill riders," Schumer, expected to be the next Senate Democratic leader, told reporters during a conference call.

He added if Republicans try to attach "poison pill riders" to the appropriations bills, "we're just not going to let the process go forward."

His comments come after a GOP amendment on buying heavy water from Iran temporarily threw the energy and water bill into limbo, with Democrats repeatedly blocking the legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) has pledged to get the 12 appropriations bills cleared through the upper chamber this year.

Schumer said that the Republican leader "has a responsibility" to help defeat controversial GOP amendments, either by not letting them move forward or voting against them.

"We're not obstructing," he added when asked about the Democratic strategy. "They'd be obstructing if they allow poison pill riders to poison the process."

The Senate is currently debating a merged Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and military construction and Veterans Affairs bill.

So far, leadership has been able to avoid controversial amendments to the normally uncontroversial bill and is hoping to finish work on the legislation this week.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Trump is a 'racist bully' Poll: Oprah would outperform Warren, Harris against Trump in California Democrats continue to dismiss positive impacts of tax reform MORE (D-Mass.) pledged Democrats would keep poison pills out of the entire appropriations process, which she compared to "ringing the dinner bell for the lobbyists."

"If the lobbyists and their Republican friends think they'll get away with using government funding bills ... they are very, very wrong," she added.