Adopting a strategy first suggested by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), House Republicans are pushing a new approach that would break up the federal spending bills into small pieces and move them separately over to the Senate.
According to a senior GOP aide in a closed-door huddle in the Capitol basement, Republicans hope to approve three bills Tuesday that would fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Park Service and the District of Columbia. This is an attempt to move the appropriations process through regular order, but Senate Democrats have rejected such a move as too late.
The House votes will be done largely as messaging efforts, as GOP leaders expect to put the bills on what is known as the suspension calendar. Those bills on that legislative calendar are usually noncontroversial – think naming of post offices – and require a two-thirds majority to be approved, with almost no debate beforehand. Republicans expect Democrats to object to funding those three spending bills, and they will then try to place political blame for national parks and museums being closed on House Democrats.
In rejecting the House’s efforts Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (R-Nev.) said he would agree to Speaker John A. Boehner’s request to have a special committee to hash out the differences in their spending plans once Boehner (R-Ohio) agrees to the Senate’s plan to re-open the government. "The government is closed . . . because of the irrationality of what is going on on the other side of the Capitol,” Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday morning.