Ahead of a test vote in the Senate on a package of House-passed spending bills, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Republicans’ insistence on steering more funding toward President Trump’s desired U.S.-Mexico border wall in next year’s spending legislation was putting the entire process in jeopardy.
“This ruse, this stunt … puts the entire appropriations process in jeopardy,” the New York Democrat said in a speech on the chamber floor.
“Somehow in the wake of all this, the Republican leader has been accusing Democrats of threatening to block military funding. Now that is an absurd statement if there ever was one,” he said.
The Senate is set on Wednesday to hold a procedural vote — which is expected to fail — on a four-bill package that would fund programs in defense, labor, health, education, energy and water, and foreign operations.
Lawmakers are facing an end-of-month deadline to pass new spending legislation or risk another government shutdown, and are likely to opt for a separate shorter-term stopgap bill and delay a bigger fight over the wall.
But the comments Wednesday suggest another shutdown showdown could be in the offing, after a dispute over wall funding helped trigger the 35-day shutdown that ran from last December into January.
Before Mr. Schumer’s remarks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Democrats for any potential hold-up, saying that they have been talking about how they might try to “shoehorn” their disagreements with Mr. Trump into the appropriations process.
“Our men and women in uniform do not deserve to have the funding for their tools, their training and their own pay raises used as leverage by Senate Democrats to try to extract concessions from the White House,” the Kentucky Republican said.
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