Schumer: Spending deal coming 'very soon'

Schumer: Spending deal coming 'very soon'
© Greg Nash

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) says White House and congressional negotiators are close to a funding deal to avoid a government shutdown.

“Over the last 24 hours, we’ve made a lot of good progress toward an agreement,” Schumer said Thursday. “There are some sticking points that remain, but I’m optimistic that we can come up with an agreement very soon."

He said the final product will be something both sides can be proud of that helps "keep us safe at home and adequately fund the programs that our middle-class families rely on.”

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Earlier Thursday, President Trump accused Democrats of threatening to shut down the government to “bail out their donors from insurance companies.”

“As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks — Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!” Trump tweeted.

Schumer also downplayed a threat made earlier in the day by House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), who said he will urge his colleagues to block the spending bill if House Republicans move ahead this week with legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The Senate minority leader said he agrees with Hoyer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) that Republicans should fund the government “before rushing through a healthcare bill in the dark of night.” But he did not say he would encourage Senate Democrats to block the government funding bill if Republicans move their healthcare bill this week.

“We’re not up to that yet,” he said.

“Let’s hope they see the light over there in the House,” he added.

The spending talks took a major step forward Wednesday when the Trump administration assured Democratic leaders that it would continue to reimburse health insurers that cover low-income ObamaCare enrollees.

Schumer said the administration has indicated that the cost-sharing reduction payments will continue for the foreseeable future.

“We expect they’re going to continue them certainly for a long period of time and the forces that forced them to do it on their own are still there,” he said. “They know that if 6 million people lose coverage because premiums would go way up, it’s on their backs.”

Another major issue in the talks was expiring health benefits for retired miners, but GOP leaders have signaled they are willing to extend the program.

One outstanding issue is whether to help Puerto Rico cover a shortfall in Medicaid funding.

Trump on Thursday morning accused Democrats of holding government funding hostage over that issue as well.

“The Democrats want to shut government if we don’t bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for OCare failure. NO!” he tweeted.

Democrats say there are a few other points of contention that remain.

“Our position is no poison-pill riders,” Schumer said. “The kind of riders that would deal with women’s health, that would roll back the protections average folks have in Dodd-Frank against financial interests. These kinds of things do not belong in this bill.”