© Greg Nash
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) teed off Thursday on the Republicans' omnibus spending bill, saying the GOP's initial offer for funding the government constitutes a "Tea Party policy wish list" that "literally takes your breath away."
"This is not an appropriations bill with a few policy riders," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "This is a Tea Party policy wish list with an appropriations bill as an addendum to it.
"This is not the way you … fulfill a budget that fulfills the needs of the American people."
Pelosi and the Democrats wasted no time this week rejecting the Republicans' initial package to fund the government through September, citing more than 30 "poison pill" policy attachments the Democrats deem unacceptable.
The Democrats have declined to release the full list of objectionable provisions, but Pelosi, in vague terms, cited several measures she said would empower Wall Street banks and other special interests at the expense of consumers and working families.
"What they sent us … takes your breath away," she said.
Pelosi accused GOP leaders of hijacking the negotiations between bipartisan appropriators in both chambers.
She said those negotiators were working carefully to eliminate the riders they knew were non-starters with the other party, only to have Speaker Paul RyanPaul Ryan6 reasons 'TrumpCare' flatlined Overnight Healthcare: Ryan says key ObamaCare payments will continue during House lawsuit White House invites House Intel Dem to view documents MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTwo Dems announce they'll vote for Gorsuch Pence breaks tie, allowing Senate to revoke Obama order on abortion provider funding Pence casts tiebreaking Senate procedural vote on funding for abortion providers MORE (R-Ky.) ignore that progress.
"They [appropriators] knew what that threshold was. It wasn't something I said. … They had all that judgment knowing their caucuses," Pelosi said. "What came back to us was eliminating all the work that they had done. And that was disappointing."
Pelosi, who spoke with Ryan by phone Tuesday before the Republicans delivered their initial proposal, said she hasn't spoken with the Speaker since then.
"My response was the response that the appropriators put together," Pelosi said, referring to the Democrats' counteroffer, which was delivered to GOP leaders Wednesday night. "This has largely been done at the appropriations level."
She didn't say whether the Democrats' counteroffer included anything from the party's wish list that would be a non-starter with Republicans.
Republican appropriators, meanwhile, are preparing their counteroffer to the counteroffer, which they intend to deliver to the Democrats as early as Thursday, according to a GOP aide.
"I'm hopeful and I look forward to seeing their counter," Pelosi said.
They're running out of time. Without congressional action, large parts of the federal government will close after Dec. 11.