Harry Reid Excluded From Leadership Negotiation On Flint
House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were able to strike a deal to provide funding for the water crisis in Flint, Mich., though Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was excluded from the talks.
Flint funding was the main sticking point for Senate Democrats who pushed for the funding to be included in a must-pass continuing resolution to keep the government funded through Dec. 9.
Democrats blocked a procedural vote Tuesday on a stop-gap measure introduced by McConnell, citing its inclusion of flood funding without attaching Flint aid. The legislation then passed the upper chamber Wednesday following Reid announcing his support of the deal to attach an amendment to the House’s version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
“Discussions started to come together yesterday afternoon with Pelosi, McConnell and Ryan, this was sort of not involving Reid at this point — he was still putting up a pretty good blockage in terms of not allowing anything on the CR that didn’t have Flint in it,” a GOP aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “So, discussions came together amongst the three other leaders throughout the evening, a path forward emerged on an amendment that was germane on WRDA.”
While the House bill provides slightly less funding than the $220 million in the Senate version, which overwhelmingly passed the upper chamber earlier this year, the $170 million in the authorization amendment providing assurance there would be action down the road was enough to sway Democrats to get behind the CR.
Due to the strong bipartisan passage of WRDA in the Senate, House Republicans knew it wasn’t realistic to pass a bill that didn’t address the issue and felt WRDA was the most sensible place to act on providing funding to address the issue.
Senate Republican leaders convey that McConnell discussed the deal with House leadership, but that it was mainly negotiated between Ryan and Pelosi.
Reid accomplished what he was hoping for; he pushed for the funding to be attached to WRDA on the Senate floor Monday, Adam Jettleson, Reid’s deputy chief of staff, told TheDCNF
“The fact is, there was no Flint in WRDA as of 24-hours ago, two days ago on the floor Sen. Reid floated the idea of doing exactly what happened today, yesterday he provided the leverage to get the deal done by blocking the Republicans on cloture and now Flint in in WRDA,” he said. “Pelosi and Reid have talked more times than I can count in the last 24 hours, he spoke to McConnell personally at least twice in the last 24 house, maybe more, and had more one-on-one conversations with the White House than I can count in the last 24 hours.”
While Democrats didn’t get everything in the compromise, they are satisfied, since language to defund Planned Parenthood and lower Zika funding levels were not included, Jettleson said.
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