Democrats are pushing Republicans to strip the disaster aid provisions from the bill entirely and pass a clean funding bill, and separate, emergency, Senate-passed legislation to provide relief to disaster-stricken regions across the country. At her weekly press conference Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pointed to a potential compromise.
"It would be my hope that there would be some split the difference, the Republicans would come out and say we're not going to go as high as you wanted...and we will have no offset. That I think would be a reasonable place to be," Pelosi said.
If, as expected, the legislation dies in the Senate, the parties will have to reach an alternative accommodation by September 30 when the current funds expire. Conservatives, seeking ever deeper cuts to the entire government, only supported the legislation reluctantly, and that suggests House Speaker John Boehner will have to strike a deal with Democrats that costs him significant support in his caucus. Both the House and Senate were scheduled to be in recess next week, though Reid has suggested he may keep the Senate in session.
House Republicans, on the other hand, plan to adjourn for that scheduled recess. That leaves Leader Reid few options, two of which are to cave -- pass the House measure in order to avert a government shutdown -- or to escalate -- kill the House measure and demand they return to cut a deal.
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