Democrats united against omnibus riders–Reid

Democrats united against omnibus riders — Reid

Geof Koss and Hannah Northey E&E reporters
Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Having secured their goal of getting a budget deal addressing the debt ceiling and sequestration cuts, Democrats are looking ahead to the next phase of the appropriations fight: keeping contentious policy riders out of the omnibus spending measure they hope to pass in December.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters yesterday that President Obama and Democrats will stand firm against efforts to target environmental regulations — and other contentious riders.
“We’re holding hands with the president, we’re all holding hands. We are not going to deal with these vexatious riders,” Reid said. “We feel comfortable and confident that this would violate the sense of this agreement, that’s not what it’s about.”
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee, said yesterday the two-year budget deal will be a boon to the moribund appropriations process, which has repeatedly ground to a halt in recent years over partisan wrangling.
“From the standpoint of an appropriator, to have a topline of two years is so encouraging because it provides certainty for our economy and certainty for our agencies,” she told reporters.
But she acknowledged the threat of riders hangs over the negotiations as Congress works to pass an omnibus before the Dec. 11 expiration of the current continuing resolution.
“We’ll always be worried about poison-pill riders,” she said.
While the budget deal forgoes riders, Republicans made clear they see omnibus talks as a venue for pressing back against the Clean Power Plan.
“If we get to an appropriations process, if we get to an omnibus in December, it’s certainly something I’m gonna be talking about,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), an appropriator, said of the Clean Power Plan.
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said the appropriations process is fair game for pushing back on the climate rules and EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rules.
“We’ll use every available option out there to keep that from happening,” Inhofe said yesterday of the regulations.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is expected to assume Reid’s position as Senate Democratic leader when the Nevadan retires at the end of 2016, predicted that Republicans will fall flat on riders in December.
“Usually in these fights, the party that loses is the one the public thinks is eager or wants to shut down the government to get their way,” he told reporters. “That mantle is proudly worn by some of the Republicans and meekly worn by all the others by implication. And I think if they try to do the same thing on riders … they’re going to lose. They saw their weakened position in these negotiations because the public knows they’re willing to shut the government down and we’re not.”

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