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

Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar 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."

ADVERTISEMENT

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 McConnellPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Graham calls voting rights bill 'biggest power grab' in history The wild card that might save Democrats in the midterms 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 WarrenThe Memo: The center strikes back Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax 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.