House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she is looking forward to finding compromise with Republicans on next week’s must-pass spending package. “My inclination is obviously is to be hopeful that the legislation will be something that we can accept and support,” Pelosi told reporters.
The government funding measure has become a proxy fight over how to handle President Obama’s executive amnesty.
Conservative Republicans including Rep. Steve King (R-IA) want to use the measure to defund President Obama’s executive amnesty. House Leadership, on the other hand, sees more strength in waiting until next month to combat Obama’s unilateral actions when both chambers of Congress are in GOP hands.
The divide has created the possibility that Democratic votes could be needed to pass the funding bill, which is expected to fund most of the government though September — except for the Department of Homeland Security. DHS would only be funded for a short time in order to maintain leverage over Obama’s executive actions in the next Congress. The hybrid bill has been dubbed a “cromibus.”
If Congress fails to pass a funding measure by Dec. 11, the government would shut down.
Pelosi stressed Friday that since the legislation has not been made public, she could not say whether it would be something Democrats can support. But noted she has reached out to Republicans to offer assistance. “We’re eager to see what this bill will be. We look forward to finding common ground. It’s really important that the Republicans not be frivolous once again about shutting down government,” she said.
If Republicans cannot get enough support for the effort from within their caucus, Pelosi and Democrats would be negotiating from a place of greater strength — a prospect Pelosi has already briefed her caucus about.
High on Pelosi’s list of concerns, she noted Friday, is the issue of “very destructive riders” on the spending bill that she said would be “unacceptable” to her members.
“I’m not saying any one is a deal breaker but I’m saying these are an array of concerns that we have. Clean air, good food standards, workplace safety, fairness to the District of Columbia, how the top line dollar is allocated within the legislation,” she told reporters.
Of whether she feels as though she is in control of how the process shakes out, Pelosi said the issue is votes.
“They have the majority, they have the votes. If they have 218 votes to go forward with this, so be it. If they keep making it worse in order to get 218 votes, that is a disservice to our country,” she explained
Pelosi recalled the times Democrats have had to lend the GOP leadership votes in order to get legislation passed, including ending the government shutdown and lifting the debt ceiling.
“We have stood ready to support initiatives that weren’t pleasant,” she said.