Top Dem Thinks He Can Block GOP’s Agenda With One Risky Power Play

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said he’s “reluctant” to tell Democratic members to vote for a short-term continuing resolution (CR) if its purpose is to provide Republicans additional time to negotiate an omnibus.

With government funding set to expire Friday, members have just days to pass a spending measure if they want to avoid a government shutdown.

Hoyer said Democrats have no interest in shutting down the government but argued Republicans already extended their time to complete the appropriations process. He said he would support a continuing resolution if it’s being used to memorialize an agreement made this week but not if it gives Republicans the ability to “leverage more, debate more, negotiate more.” GOP leadership aides have suggested Republicans will likely push for a one-to-two week stop-gap measure to keep the government funded, allowing them more time to work on a deal.

He said Republicans had a sufficient amount of time to strike a deal, having already pushed back the funding deadline to April 28 in December. Hoyer said he has hesitations about getting behind a short-term CR without a deal being struck this week.
“I’m reluctant to advise my members to support that,” he told reporters.

Hoyer alleged President Donald Trump’s Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — a former member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — was partially responsible for the 16-day shutdown in 2013, which cost the government roughly $24 billion.

“It was, by the way, a shutdown strongly supported by, pushed by, advocated by the director of the Office of Management and Budget, who then 16 days later voted against re-opening the government,” Hoyer said. “So, clearly we have somebody, who is the president’s budget director, who believes that shutting down the government is a tactic.  Taking the government hostage to accomplish objectives is a policy that is one that he has pursued and believes is warranted to use.”

Democrats have repeatedly said they won’t support a measure that includes Republican “poison pills,” like funding Trump’s border wall.

Hoyer said he’s hopeful they can strike a deal before Friday’s deadline.

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