Omnibus stalled by nearly 100 House GOP policy riders, Reid says

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that House Republicans are pushing to add nearly 100 different policy riders to the omnibus spending bill, stalling it shortly before Thursday’s deadline.

Reid said he is prepared to vote on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open beyond Dec. 11, when it is scheduled to expire.

{mosads}“The federal government is going to run out of money in two days. There’s no reason the government should shut down,” he told reporters.

Reid said he would keep the upper chamber in as long as needed to finish its work.

“Maybe we’ll have to work the weekend and maybe even work next week. I know that’s tough duty for everybody but we may have to do that,” he said.

“I think that there’s a very, very good chance we’ll be here this weekend,” he added.

Reid said he would be “happy to vote for” a short-term funding measure to keep the government open beyond Dec. 11 if the omnibus isn’t ready in time but expressed hope that would not be necessary.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) gave a presentation to colleagues at a lunch meeting Tuesday detailing some of the policy riders emerging from the House.

“Sen. Mikulski has done a remarkably good job. She did such a good job in the caucus explaining what she’s been through with the nearly 100 riders that she’s had to try to fight off,” Reid said.

They include proposals to overturn the District of Columbia’s legalization of marijuana and to soften the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill.

Reid said, however, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) have been negotiating over, will likely not be included in the massive spending bill.

“I don’t think TRIA is going to be in the omnibus,” he said.

If Republicans add language to halt the District of Columbia’s decision to legalize marijuana, Reid said Senate Democrats would have a hard time stripping it out even though he personally opposes what the House is trying to do.

“I have had conversations with the Congresswoman that represents the District and I’m opposed to what the House is trying to do. If they put it in there it’s going to be hard to take it out over here,” he said.

Other must-pass items include the annual defense authorization bill and a package extending expired tax provisions.

Reid said he would file cloture on the defense bill Tuesday, likely setting up a vote Thursday to end an expected filibuster of the bill. That would slate a final vote for either Thursday or Friday.

The Democratic leader said he would schedule a vote on a one-year extension of tax provisions after dealing with the omnibus and defense legislation.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is pushing for a longer-term tax package that would include a permanent extension of charitable tax breaks.

But Reid sees little chance of passing it.

“I think it’s going to be hard to get any new legislation up. We have stuff we have to work through,” he said.

“Sen. Wyden made a presentation in the caucus today. People know what’s in that charitable donations thing the House has. [If] there’s a way to get it up, we will,” he added.

This story was updated at 6:07 p.m.

Tags Harry Reid Lame-duck Congress spending bill

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