Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will not accept the dozens of riders House Republicans added to their recently-passed spending bills — policy measures that do everything from defund Planned Parenthood to rescind the EPA’s authority to regulate pollution.
It’s the latest salvo in the battle over funding the government — and at some point House Republicans will have to decide whether they’ll allow these measures to be flushed down the toilet.
Reid made the comments on a conference call to reporters after Republicans rejected his call for extending current spending levels for 30 days while the two parties craft a longer-term bill to cut those funds.Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who joined the call, says he takes House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) at his word that he wants to avoid a government shutdown. But, Schumer says, Boehner is “under intense pressure from the right wing, both outside Washington and from his conference,” not to negotiate with Democrats.
Without negotiations, the government will shutdown. But Republicans say even a 30-day stopgap must include cuts.
“Reid offered an olive branch to House Republicans and they flatly rejected it,” Schumer said. Boehner, he added, is being “misled and pushed around” by members of his own conference.
The two parties have 10 days to sort this all out. If they can’t come to terms on a stopgap, either at current or reduced levels, the government will shut down. And whether it’s over the stopgap measure or the longer-term funding bill, Republicans will have to make peace with the demise of most their riders — not just because would the Senate reject them, but also because President Obama has threatened to veto the House’s proposal.