By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Now that the border wall is off the table, Republicans say Democrats are the ones standing in the way of a deal to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opened the session Wednesday by saying the GOP has complied with Democrats’ demands to drop “poison pill” provisions — but said Democrats are now insisting on their own poison pills.
“If they take their own advice we can finish this negotiation,” the Kentucky Republican said.
Democrats’ late-season demand for Obamacare money to be included in the spending bill has complicated negotiations. Initially, Democratic leaders signaled they wouldn’t accept a bill that didn’t include Obamacare’s cost-sharing payments — money that’s never been included in the bills before, but that the Obama administration paid out in violation of the law.
On Tuesday, several top Democrats signaled they were no longer drawing a line in the sand on the Obamacare payments — but they have yet to take them off the table the way President Trump has for the border wall.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Wednesday that federal support for a health fund for retired miners and money to bolster Puerto Rico’s struggling Medicaid system are also sticking points.