Politics

Pelosi Uses Republican-Based Bills to Try to Force Open the Government

'We're asking' GOP senators 'to take yes for an answer'

Image Credit: Shutterstock & NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued for a plan on Thursday to end the ongoing partial government shutdown by reminding Senate Republicans the plan is based on bills they advanced.

But those measures were passed when there was hope they’d become law.

Pelosi introduced the package — which has no money for the border wall — within hours of being elected speaker at the beginning of the new session.

The package consists of two bills that are intended to reopen the government while leaving time to debate a lingering dispute on border security.

She stressed an earlier argument that this is based on bills the Republican Senate already passed or advanced through committee.

“What we’re asking the Republicans in the Senate to do is to take yes for an answer,” Pelosi told reporters during a late press conference on Thursday. “We are sending them back, exactly, word for word, what they have passed to cover the eight agencies of government, and exactly what they passed in a continuing resolution until February 8th.”

Related: Government Funding Fight Reaches Fever Pitch

Senate Republicans did indeed pass bills on which this package is based. The first bill in the package combines six appropriations measures that will cover most of the remaining government, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which will be funded instead by a short-term spending bill to give time to debate border security.

Senate Republicans most recently passed a continuing resolution intended to keep the government funded at current levels until February 8.

The proposal failed when it faced opposition in the Republican-controlled House. But that proposal was passed in the hopes that President Donald Trump would sign it. He has since made clear he opposes the idea.

“Why would they not do that?” Pelosi said. “Is it because the president won’t sign it? Have they not heard of the co-equal branches of government and that the Congress sends the president legislation, and he can choose to sign or not? But to choose to keep government shut down, by rejecting what the Republicans themselves have written, not us, what the Republicans themselves have written — so there is something really wrong with this picture.”

Trump has made clear he will not sign anything without $5 billion to fund his proposed border security wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after his short-term spending bill failed that he wouldn’t bring up any more spending bills that the president doesn’t support, as it’s a waste of time to bring up anything doomed to fail with a veto.

Related: White House Meeting Ends with No Government Shutdown Solution

The House Freedom Caucus led the charge against the short-term spending bills after it passed the Senate. The group argued from the floor against the bill and urged a fight for border wall funding on December 19.

Trump came out against the proposal the next day. The House then passed a version of the bill, which also included $5.7 billion for the border wall.

The partial government shutdown began when both sides failed to reach agreement on border wall funding on December 22. Trump and congressional leaders seemed to make little progress after meeting to resolve the shutdown on Wednesday.

Pelosi told reporters afterward that she plans to charge ahead with her package of bills despite the president’s opposing it.

They plan to meet again to continue discussions Friday.

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