Abortion & Border Wall ‘Poison Pills’ Derailing Senate Push to Pass Spending Bills
Should the Senate avoid "poison pill" riders in upcoming spending bills?
by Countable | 9.11.19
Congress returned to the Capitol on Monday with lawmakers poised to start the process of allocating the $1.371 trillion in discretionary spending they agreed to this summer in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which was made possible thanks to a handshake deal to leave out poison pill riders. By the end of Tuesday, partisan fighting over poison pills forced the Senate Appropriations Committee take two of the four bills it planned to markup Thursday off the agenda ― leaving lawmakers with even less time to avoid a partial government shutdown on October 1st.
The Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education appropriations bill was pulled from the docket after Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said she would offer an amendment to block the Trump administration’s Title X rule, while the State & Foreign Operations bill got scratched in response to a threatened amendment that would allow foreign aid to go to groups that promote or provide abortion (known as the Mexico City policy).
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor that the poison pills threaten the deal:
“Unfortunately, yesterday brought some disturbing signals Democrats may be rethinking that commitment. New poison pills are apparently being discussed but everybody knows what we agreed to last month.”
Democrats countered that the GOP intends to give the Trump administration an extra $12 billion for the wall, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) saying:
“They know darn well that $12 billion in additional monies for the wall isn’t going to fly with Senate Democrats or the House. So they ought to get serious negotiating now that they’ve shown the president they’re paying a little more fealty to him.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee’s markup hearing on Thursday morning will focus on defense spending, in addition to the energy & water appropriations bill and overall budget allocations.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / RiverNorthPhotography)
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