Pelosi: Dems will oppose short-term spending bill

Pelosi: Dems will oppose short-term spending bill
© Greg Nash

House Democrats will oppose a short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor Thursday afternoon, Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiSenate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump House Republicans grumble about the 'worst process ever' Senate bracing for possible long weekend MORE (D-Calif.) said hours before.

The announcement puts the onus on GOP leaders to gather the 218 votes they’ll need to pass the measure largely on their own — a feat they’ve been unable to accomplish on a long list of budget bills going back to 2011, when they took the House gavel.

With government spending set to expire at the end of the day Friday, Congress is racing to pass a two-week extension before that deadline — an effort to buy them more time to negotiate a larger deal to fund the government through next September.

Pelosi said Democrats have no interest in a government shutdown, but they can’t support the GOP’s continuing resolution because it omits a long list of provisions the Democrats consider must-pass this year, including protections for so-called Dreamers and funding for the opioid crisis, hurricane and wildfire relief, veterans issues and pension protections.

“This is a waste of time," she said.

Pelosi declared that the Republicans have the responsibility to pass their own spending bills since they control both chambers.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Republicans grumble about the 'worst process ever' Winners and losers from the .3T omnibus Collins: McConnell has 'kept his commitment' on ObamaCare fix MORE (R-Wis.), appearing at the same lectern just minutes after Pelosi left it, said he’s optimistic the Republicans can win the GOP support to pass their continuing resolution on Thursday.

“I feel good where we are,” Ryan said. “It’s kind of basic governing.”

The budget negotiations were delayed last week after Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmtrak to rename Rochester station after Louise Slaughter Conscience protections for health-care providers should be standard Pension committee must deliver on retirement promise MORE (D-N.Y.) abruptly canceled a meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Both parties need to do more on drug prices Senate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump White House: Trump will delay steel tariffs for EU, six countries MORE after the president, tweeting just hours before the scheduled gathering, predicted no deal was possible.

The parties quickly pointed fingers across the aisle to blame the other for the impasse.

“We were concerned when the president started mocking the meeting and saying there’d be no deal,” Pelosi said Thursday. “And we thought, ‘Well, if you’re not ready to talk, then we’re not ready to come.' ”

Ryan had a decidedly different take.

“When they walked away from the table, that cost us weeks,” he said.

A second White House meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday — a gathering designed to forge a deal on the spending caps that will guide the negotiations of the longer-term spending bill.

A major sticking point in those talks has been the issue of how high to raise the caps on defense spending versus the cap governing domestic discretionary programs. Pelosi said she’s open to accepting the White House’s request for a defense increase, but Democrats will insist on “parity” for the other programs.

“We said, ‘We’re not there to fight your defense number. We think it should be subjected to scrutiny. … But if that’s what you think it should be, then that may be a place that we can go to,' ” she said.

“So it wasn’t about — you should have less and we should have more,” she added. “It was about parity.”

--This report was updated at 12:08 p.m.