Pelosi warns GOP not to take Dem budget votes for granted

Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Friday that “destructive riders” would dissolve Democratic support for the Republicans’ year-end spending bill, increasing the risk of a government shutdown.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday he expects Democratic support for the Republican proposal to keep the government funded beyond Dec. 11, a bill that’s expected to be unveiled Monday.

{mosads}But Pelosi, while “hopeful” the Republicans produce “something that we can accept,” warned that Democrats won’t back a package brimming with conservative amendments. 

“We haven’t seen the bill, but [if] there are some very destructive riders in it, that would be unacceptable to us,” Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing in the Capitol. “Whatever you think of them, they have no place on an appropriations bill.”

Pelosi singled out conservative proposals to relax standards for school lunches, roll back environmental rules targeting air pollution, loosen workplace safety guidelines and block a newly passed law legalizing marijuana in Washington, D.C.

“These are really earmarks for industry,” she said. “That’s what they are.” 

Pelosi also expressed concerns about the GOP’s plan to fund the Department of Homeland Security on a short-term basis, arguing that such a move threatens the nation’s security.

“But … let’s look at the full package,” she emphasized. “I’m not saying any one of them is a deal-breaker. But I’m saying these are an array of concerns that we have: clean air, food standards, workplace safety, fairness to the District … how the top-line number is allocated within the legislation.”

GOP appropriators working on a year-end spending bill are facing heavy pressure from conservatives to include numerous amendments, or riders, as part of the sweeping package.

The debate puts Boehner in a familiar pickle, caught between his right flank urging more conservative amendments as part of a must-pass budget bill and Democratic leaders in both chambers and the White House threatening to sink the package if it leans too far that way.

Threading the needle would likely alienate a number of conservatives and force GOP leaders to win Democratic votes — a dynamic Boehner all but acknowledged Thursday.

“I expect it will have bipartisan support to pass the omnibus appropriation bill,” Boehner told reporters in the Capitol.

Meantime, Pelosi has the luxury of remaining in wait-and-see mode while the Republicans haggle over what the final package will look like.

“We’re eager to see what this bill will be,” she said, “[and] we look forward to finding common ground.”

Tags Boehner Cromnibus John Boehner Nancy Pelosi
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