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

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBaldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Trump blasts Pelosi for wanting to leave country during shutdown 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 McConnellSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week Trump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback 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 WarrenO'Rourke’s strategy: Show Americans the real Beto 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Kamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report 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.