House Mini-CR Plans Blocked by Senate Democrats

Durbin offered objections on the Senate floor to GOP requests to call up and pass measures funding the National Guard and the NIH, among others.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House GOP move to pass smaller spending measures to revive discrete parts of the government is officially a non-starter in the Senate.

Democrats formally rejected the piecemeal strategy Thursday morning, with Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada taking turns offering objections to GOP unanimous consent requests to call up and pass House-passed resolutions to fund National Guard and reserves salaries, the National Institutes of Health and the National Park Service.

The Democratic leaders instead suggested a clean stopgap measure that would allow the entire federal government to resume normal operations, with Durbin saying the whole CR represented a "better deal" for GOP senators worried about funding for NIH and National Guard personnel. Senate Republicans opposed taking that step.

"Congress unanimously passed a bill to ensure active-duty military personnel are paid during this lapse in government funding, and it's unclear why Senate Democrats wouldn't pass similar measures to fund these important services," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in a statement issued after the exchange.

Away from the floor, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., rejected the House approach at a news conference with small business leaders being adversely affected by the government shutdown, including one woman whose business is essentially at a standstill because an overwhelming percentage of its work comes from government contracting.