Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the government appears to be heading toward a shutdown, with disputes over abortion and environmental regulations blocking a deal.
It “looks like we’re headed that way,” the Nevada Democrat said about a shutdown, which would begin at midnight Friday. Reid said he was “not nearly as optimistic — and that’s an understatement — as I was 11 hours ago.”
Reid said House leaders have drawn a line in the sand over abortion and clean air riders in the longer-term continuing resolution, which he said have no business on a funding bill.
“The numbers are basically there,” Reid said of the negotiations that occurred overnight. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”
Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), defended the GOP push for policy riders Thursday.
“Americans are concerned not just about how much we’re spending, but how we’re spending it,” he said. “That’s why the policy provisions are an important part of this discussion.”
Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith also tweeted “untrue” on Thursday in response to Reid’s claim that abortion and clean air regulations are holding up the deal.
President Barack Obama, Reid and Boehner are slated to meet at 1 p.m. at the White House to resume negotiations, after a lengthy meeting late Wednesday night.
Reid said only a “clean” CR that funds the government for a few days would be acceptable.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, said that the House bill only includes items that Democrats have previously supported, including funding the Defense Department for the rest of the fiscal year, and that Democrats would have “no one to blame but themselves” if the government shuts down.
“The bill does everything Democrats have previously said they want,” McConnell said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.