Politics

Government Shutdown Prevention on Republicans, Democrats Say

Leaders urge members to oppose stopgap measure if no bipartisan agreement is reached

Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., told House Democrats its unlikely a bipartisan agreement on funding the government will be ready by the April 28 deadline. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats are putting the onus on Republicans to prevent a government shutdown.

It’s unlikely a bipartisan deal could be reached in time to meet the April 28 funding deadline, and unless an agreement is in place Democrats should vote-against a short-term stopgap measure, Democratic leaders said Thursday.

House Democratic leaders held a conference call Wednesday with caucus members to discuss the status of government funding talks. 

While Democrats remain engaged in bipartisan talks with Republicans, many roadblocks to a bipartisan deal exist, including a “new and erratic White House,” House Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey told members, according to an aide on the call. 

Lowey said congressional negotiators had been making good progress but  the White House has not been constructive, according to the aide. Given the current state of negotiations, she said she doesn’t see Congress being able to meet the April 28 funding deadline and thus a short-term continuing resolution would be needed. 

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer suggested that Democrats should vote against a short-term CR unless a bipartisan deal has been reached and the extra time is needed only to finish drafting the legislation reflecting that agreement. Lowey concurred, according to the aide.

That would put significant pressure on Republicans, as some members of their own party would also be inclined to vote against even a short-term CR.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the caucus members it’s Republicans responsibility to keep the government open since they have the majority. 

“We have the leverage and they have the exposure,” she said, according to the aide. 

Leaders urged colleagues to stand strong against President Donald Trump’s push to fund his border wall. 

“We are not building a wall,” Lowey said, according the aide.

Democratic Caucus Vice Chairwoman Linda Sanchez urged her colleagues to not only oppose funding for the wall but any money the Trump administration requests to increase its immigration enforcement activities, according to the aide.

Democratic leaders also announced on the call that they plan to mark Trump’s first 100 days next week by discussing his broken promises and lack of leadership. They also discussed their continued opposition to the GOP’s health care bill in light of press reports regarding changes Republicans are looking to make to the stalled measure.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján provided an update on the special election in Georgia’s 6th District, saying Karen Handel is the best possible Republican opponent from Democrats’ perspective.

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