Senate Democrat: GOP action is ‘extortion’ not compromise

Lawmakers are still at an impasse on how to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government, which has been shutdown since midnight Tuesday. House Republicans have tried to use the funding measure to defund and repeal parts of ObamaCare, but Senate Democrats have said the House needs to pass a “clean” CR without any riders.

“We’re here because my colleagues who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act don’t have the votes … so instead, they’ve decided to try something new. They’ve taken the government hostage,” Heinrich said on the Senate floor. “That’s not how our democracy works.”

Republicans have accused Democrats of not negotiating on ObamaCare as part of a measure to fund the government. But Heinrich pointed out that Democrats compromised by accepting the spending level sent from the House, which keeps most of the sequester cuts in place.

“They actually got the spending levels they wanted,” Heinrich said. “I don’t like those spending levels … but we aren’t willing to risk the entire economy or the well-being of our constituents just to get our way.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday that when he and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) talked about a government funding measure last month, Boehner told Reid the Senate would have to agree to fund the government at the level of $986 billion. Reid said he convinced his fellow Democrats to accept that number because Boehner said he could then move the bill in the House, but that hasn’t been the case. Tea Party Republicans have insisted on repealing or delaying parts of ObamaCare in order to reopen the government.

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