Lawmakers Search for Compromise over Policy Riders

Democrats on Thursday continued to seethe following the GOP’s opening offer this week on a fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill, even after delivering their counteroffer the previous evening.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the proposal a “tea party policy wish list” and a complete reversal from weeks of work done by appropriators to find common ground on spending levels and policy riders, reported CQ Roll Call.

The primary object of Democrats’ ire were more than 30 “poison pill” riders covering a variety of policy issues, including a recent federal rule to protect wetlands and waterways, the screening process for refugees from Syria and Iraq, and financial and workplace regulations.

“That bipartisan work was given to the Republican leadership, and they came back with a proposal to us that completely erased all of the work that had been done to reach compromise on these riders,” Pelosi said.

Despite the bitter feelings on the part of Democrats, the GOP continued to insist that a government shutdown will not occur. Over the next several days, negotiators will exchange offers in an attempt to strike a deal on the $1.1 trillion omnibus in time for it to be cleared by the House and Senate prior to Dec. 11, when the current continuing resolution expires.

“I think as we get closer to the deadline and need to file a bill, which will be the first of next week, that’s when you’ll start to see things really start to shake out. Right now I think things are still very fluid,” said Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), a senior House appropriator.

And even if Congress fails to finish its work by Dec. 11, leaders of both parties have said they are open to passing a short-term continuing resolution lasting no more than a week.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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