House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that any longer-term government funding bill that eventually gets signed into law by President Obama will not include any policy riders aimed at defunding the national health-care law.
“Let’s put it this way: the health-care rider is not one that will be in any bill that will be sent to the president and that the president will sign. ... This bill will not be repealed,” Pelosi said at an event touting Democrats’ health-care and student loan laws.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday signaled some willingness to consider the controversial provisions known as policy riders included in the House-passed funding bill. However, many of the riders, including those that would defund Planned Parenthood, educational programs and the national health-care law, are anathema to Democrats. Some Republicans have insisted that they will not back a spending measure unless it contains those riders.
Pelosi reiterated on Wednesday the House Democratic view that the broader spending disagreement between the parties is about values, not just dollar figures.
“This isn’t about dollars; this debate has to be about values,” Pelosi said. The House-passed bill “is a bill that cuts 6 million homebound seniors off from meals delivered to them. It cuts children out of Head Start and fires teachers who are teaching reading to children in disadvantaged areas.
“What’s common ground?” she continued. “Three million seniors thrown off Meals on Wheels? It’s not about finding common ground on that. It’s about taking it to a higher ground where the American people can say our values are to respect the dignity of our seniors, to educate our children, to create jobs, to create jobs, to create jobs, as we reduce the deficit.”
As spending negotiations lumber on, there is an increasing possibility that the government may be forced to shut down if no long-term solution is reached before the April 8 deadline, but a three-week stopgap agreement ends.
Asked Wednesday about the possibility of a further stopgap measure to avert a shutdown, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a brief interview that Democrats are unlikely to agree to an additional short-term bill that funds the government but cuts $2 billion a week.
“We were willing to do that for a couple of times to give us the time to try to get to an agreement, but if we don’t get to an agreement, I’m not prepared – and I don’t think my colleagues on our side of the aisle are prepared -- to continue this drip, drip, drip,” Hoyer said.
On whether that meant a further short-term resolution would be off the table, Hoyer said that it would likely rule out “a short-term [measure] that cuts $2 billion a week without coming to a resolution about how we fund the government permanently, or at least through Sept. 30.”