McConnell warns Dems: No 'poison pills' in funding measure
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials ratchet up fight over drug pricing | McConnell says Republicans could try again on ObamaCare repeal | Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel MORE (R-Ky.) is warning Democrats not to push for the inclusion of "poison pills" in a must-pass funding bill, with only days left to avoid a government shutdown. 

"Our friends on the other side of the aisle sent me a letter asking for this bill to reject poison pill riders. I would suggest that if they take their own advice, we can finish this negotiation and produce a good agreement that both sides can support," McConnell said from the Senate floor. 

McConnell didn't specify what Democrats want in the funding bill that Republicans would consider a "poison pill" — a provision that would effectively kill the legislation. 


But Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia Republicans should prepare for Nancy Pelosi to wield the gavel Ryan signals support for sanctions if Saudis killed Khashoggi MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday came out against funding ObamaCare's cost-sharing reduction payments in the legislation, telling reporters, "We’re not doing that. That is not in the appropriation bill." 

Democrats offered to agree to an additional $15 billion in military funding in the legislation if Republicans agreed to fund the ObamaCare insurer subsidies.

Lawmakers have until Friday night to avoid a government shutdown. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers Senate Dems race to save Menendez in deep-blue New Jersey MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Wednesday that he "hopes" lawmakers will be able to meet the deadline, adding, "I'm optimistic about the chances for a deal." 

"So long as we try to operate within the parameters our parties have operated under for the last few spending bills," he said. "Above all, we have to make sure there are no poison pill riders. I hope both sides of the aisle will pursue that now." 

Schumer specified that remaining issues include the ObamaCare payments, help for Puerto Rico and extending healthcare for miners that would otherwise expire this month. 

The Democratic leader previously demurred when asked during a weekly press conference on Tuesday if Democrats would reject a bill that didn't include help for insurers.

He hinted on Wednesday that lawmakers could include border security funds in the bill, but said it wouldn't be tied to Trump's push for a border wall. 

"Democrats have always been for border security. ... We may address border security in this bill as well, but it will not include any funding for the wall, plain and simple," he said. 

He said Democrats will also fight any efforts to roll back women's health protections, Wall Street reform, environmental regulations or create a "deportation force." 

"I hope we can debate them in regular order, but they should ... hold the government hostage and pass them without debate," Schumer said.