By Vicki Needham - 09/23/11 07:09 PM EDT
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate pressured Republicans on Friday to agree to a compromise spending measure advocated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
The Democrats said Republicans should spend the weekend thinking about working toward a compromise on disaster aid funding, which the parties have bickered over all month.
On Friday, the Senate tabled House legislation that funded the government through Nov. 18. Democrats objected to cuts in two programs that the GOP used to pay for a portion of $3.65 billion in additional funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“The bill we have on the floor is very reasonable,” Reid told reporters. “We've taken the money the House said should be in FEMA and we've put it in there without the offsets.
“When two sides can't get everything they want, they meet in the middle, common ground. That's what we've tried to do.”
Reid said he has spoken to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) about meeting this weekend, but didn't tell reporters the status of those talks.
Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued that the $1.6 billion in cuts to pay for FEMA funding would cost jobs.
“I think it's a good compromise,” Pelosi said.
Reid said he would not accept other offsets in those negotiations.
“I'm confident if we work together we can find a solution,” he said.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the Senate's willingness to accept the House's disaster aid funding amount — after passing a bill that included almost double, $6.9 billion — is the common ground needed to pass the bill.
“I'm urging our Republican colleagues to reach a compromise,” Hoyer said.
“This is common ground.”
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) pushed back against the idea that Republicans are being given a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.
“There's always ways to compromise. Where there's a will there's a way,” he said. “There's a will on our side, and I believe that will will well up on their side, because they don't want to shut the government down and … frankly, there are a lot of Republican senators who don't want to see FEMA run out of money.”