“We are waiting for the Senate to decide on a date on which they can agree, which is ridiculous,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday evening.
The majority leader argued in a closed-door meeting Tuesday night that House Democrats were to introduce the measure on Wednesday, with or without the bipartisan blessing from their Senate counterparts, according to sources in the room. If that goal slips, the timetable quickly becomes risky in the Senate, where GOP lawmakers such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have opposed a fast-track debate on fundraising bills, triggering government shutdowns as the brief lapse. of time it caused in 2018.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Appropriations Speaker Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) Have instead called for more time to reach a deal with the Republicans. The meeting grew tense as Hoyer expressed frustration with ensuring that the next funding deadline fell on a date set for the House session and that his chamber act quickly enough to prevent a shutdown this week.
DeLauro is working to secure a deal with Republicans by Wednesday morning. But most Democrats in attendance, including key leaders, agreed that the House must vote on that day, regardless of the progress of the negotiations.
While Democrats have offered to maintain government funding until January, Republicans are pushing for a longer stopgap. They argue that both sides will need more time to reach a comprehensive funding agreement that updates spending levels for the Pentagon and each national agency of the federal government.
“The question is not January … or February, or even March,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), His party’s top official in the Senate. “I think the real question is, when do we sit down and talk in a substantive way? “
A GOP adviser in the Senate said Tuesday afternoon that minority party leaders were looking for “an appropriate time” to work on inter-party negotiations over a broader fundraising plan. “To succeed in the long term, [a stopgap] this gives sufficient leeway is important in the short term, ”said the Republican assistant.
Republicans say these talks will take longer than usual this year, as Democrats seek historic increases in non-military spending and will not give in to GOP demands – such as the inclusion of the amendment. Hyde, a Republican-led policy that prohibits the use of federal funding to perform abortions.
A senior Democratic House official said Tuesday that Republicans in both chambers had “refused to negotiate” year round on government funding. “… while the House and Senate Democrats put forward their proposals, the Republicans did not make their own offer,” said Evan Hollander, the majority party spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee.
Aside from this dispute over the length of the funding patch, Democrats and Republicans still disagree on which exceptions will be included in the bill. The leaders discussed several so-called anomalies, including adding funds for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, Afghan resettlement efforts, and increasing salaries for congressional staff. The legislation could also include provisions to prevent cuts to programs like Medicare and farm subsidies.
Republican leaders have been mulling over how to negotiate the next spending patch for weeks, as Democrats have publicly called on them to counter-offer their funding bills.
The GOP has threatened to finally force the Democrats to a palliative “of a whole year” if the majority party does not give in to a slew of Republican fundraising demands even before broader negotiations begin.
“We’re not going to have a substantive discussion with them about passing the bill, not just an RC, until they get serious about it,” Shelby said this week.
Caitlin Emma contributed to this report.