Democratic opposition to the fiscal 2017 continuing resolution (CR) introduced in the Senate last week is focused on the measure’s lack of aid for Flint, Mich., but with the two parties apparently not engaging in negotiations since Republicans filed the bill on Thursday, the prospect of a government shutdown by week’s end is hard to ignore.
Democrats’ chief objection to the CR is that it includes emergency flood relief for Louisiana and other states but fails to provide aid to address Flint’s contaminated water system. The measure has met many of the party’s other demands, reported CQ Roll Call.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended the stopgap needed to keep the government running when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1 during his opening remarks on Monday.
“They’re trying to take our country to the brink, not based on something that’s in this bill but something that isn’t,” McConnell said.
Absent an agreement, Democrats likely will block Tuesday’s procedural vote to advance the measure in the Senate.
Republican leaders favor relying on a separate water resources authorization bill to address Flint’s needs. But Democrats have balked at waiting, as there is no guarantee the final version of that legislation will include funding to upgrade the city’s water supply.
President Obama appears not to be taking hard line over the CR. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest declined to say whether Obama would veto the measure if Flint aid is not added, according to the story.
Time is running out. If today’s procedural vote fails, there will be only three more days for Congress to enact a stopgap funding bill.