Nine days from a government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats are trading accusations faster than legislative offers, as negotiators hope to get talks back on track to pass a massive omnibus appropriations spending bill and fund the government past Dec. 11.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers suggested that Democrats are slow-walking the process and noted that as of Wednesday evening, he has not heard back from his counterparts after sending them an initial offer Tuesday evening.
“The ball is in their court. We sent them last night a global bill and we’ve not heard anything back,” Rogers said. “When we negotiate in good faith, we can get things done, and I’ve not seen that yet.”
Democrats, however, said the GOP offer was anything but a good-faith effort. Democrats decried riders dealing with Wall Street, environmental regulations, and Syrian refugees.
Rep. Nita Lowey, the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee and a key Democratic negotiator, said she had initially been optimistic about the talks but was dismayed by the initial GOP proposal. "Their offer wasn't real," she said. "We couldn't accept it. They know we couldn't accept it."
Democrats are working on a blueprint of their own that they planned to release as soon as Wednesday evening, she added. "We are presenting a counteroffer that we think is real, and if they don't want to shut down the government, and if they do want to get our support, then they will sit down and work on a final proposal, and I hope that time will come before Dec. 11."