The budget and debt ceiling deal working its way through Congress will prevent a debt ceiling crisis and take a key hostage away from Republicans. But what it doesn’t do is continue funding the government past December 11, when the current spending authorization expires. It sets general spending levels for government, but it doesn’t make specific authorizations for spending or actually appropriate the money for programs. Considering how the Republicans have been approaching spending bills, larding them up with noxious policy riders to undo many of President Obama’s accomplishments, there could still be a shutdown at the end of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, under pressure from House Republicans who continue to point the finger at him for the failure of their extreme policies, approached Minority Leader Harry Reid this week, trying to leverage this budget deal into a larger spending agreement.
Would Democrats agree to relax their
on appropriations bills as part of the budget deal?
The answer from Reid was swift and decisive: No.
A McConnell pitch for less formal understanding between the two parties to support spending bills that clear committee was similarly rejected by the Democratic leader, according to sources in both parties familiar with the matter.
Reid expanded on his refusal Thursday, on the floor.
“Don’t mess up the appropriations process. We’ll be happy to support next year individual appropriations bills coming to the floor. We don’t need motions to proceed,” he added separately from the Senate floor. “We’ll be happy to move the bill as long as we get rid of those vexatious riders that have nothing to do with the bill brought before us.”
The Republicans have tried to do everything from gutting clean air and energy regulations and hamstringing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to blocking the FCC from enforcing net neutrality through the riders they’ve attached to spending bills. They’ve drawn veto threats from the White House as well as opposition from Senate Democrats. If McConnell insists on bringing them to the floor, then we could be right in the middle of another shutdown fight.