Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Government Spending Battle Continues as Democrats Reject GOP Offer

Drew Thies

House Democrats today rejected a Republican offer to fix the largest outstanding government spending issues left in 2015. The omnibus spending bill proposed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Ohio) and his party is reportedly shot down by Democrats primarily because of policy riders attached to the offer.

The deal was "not serious and unacceptable,” according to a spokesman for Rep. Nita Lowey (D- N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. “It’s miles from something that would attract Democratic support,”he said.

The deal aims to appropriate the funds designated by the recently agreed-upon budget deal struck between both parties in the wake of the-Speaker John Boehner’s retirement.

Lawmakers are running out of time to come to a decision on how to appropriate funds budgeted for the next fiscal year. The current continuing resolution gives Members of Congress until December 11th to come up with a solution to avoid a government shutdown.

Republicans are also pursuing an alternative budget strategy known as reconciliation, a byzantine budget process which limits debate and the breath of amendments that can be offered, effectively creating a 51-vote threshold to pass the Senate. While many expect the legislation to garner enough Republican support to pass both chambers, changes to the Affordable Care Act and other Democratic priorities have been met with a veto threat from the White House.

Omnibus spending legislation is the most obvious route for both parties to find compromise and avert a shutdown, as Republicans do not have enough votes within their party to overcome a Presidential veto. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) hinted earlier this week that a week-long continuing resolution could be passed in order to give lawmakers more time to reach a deal.

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