WASHINGTON — The Senate will reject another government funding proposal from House Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday.
“We are not going to do anything other than wait for them to pass our CR, because otherwise government is going to shut down,” the Nevada Democrat said at a press conference. With just over eight hours remaining to avert a government shutdown, the House is expected to send back another funding proposal after Reid rejected an earlier bill.
The Senate earlier on Monday voted down a bill passed by the House on Saturday, which attached a one-year delay of Obamacare and a repeal of the medical device tax to government funding.
Politico reported that the House Republicans plan to bring a bill to the floor Monday that would fund the government and tack on a one-year delay of Obamacare along with the so-called Vitter amendment, which would take away the federal government subsidy that lawmakers and their staffs get for healthcare.
Reid said the Senate would reject that plan.
“We are not going to change Obamacare,” he said.
“We are not going to be negotiating on this … Our negotiation is over with. And I’ve said that for two weeks,” he added.
Reid said it was “disingenuous” for Speaker John Boehner to attach the Vitter amendment to the funding bill, given that he, like all lawmakers, has been aware of the federal subsidy since the beginning. Earlier Monday, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California suggested that members who did not believe lawmakers or the staffers deserved the subsidy should simply give it back to the treasury.
Reid said they would also reject a one-week or several-day government funding bill, an idea that has been floated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I heard the idea of a short-term extension floated. Let me be very very clear: The Senate’s bill is a short-term extension. That’s what it is. This is a six-week funding bill, that’s all it is, six weeks. If we can’t pass this, we’re really truly entering the banana Republican mindset,” Reid said.
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer summed up the reasoning for not negotiating.
“If we give an inch on the [government funding bill], they’ll take a mile on the debt ceiling,” he said.
“With a bully, you cannot let them slap you around … today, they slap you five or six times, tomorrow it’s seven or eight times,” Reid echoed. “We are not going to be bullied.”