Spending Talks Stall Right After Beginning

Congressional negotiations over government funding have already hit an obstacle, raising concerns that the Senate will not meet the deadline and will have to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the government open past September 30.

“We will have to do a CR. There is no question now,” said a Democratic House aide.

Issues arose when Republicans found out that Democrats wanted to offer an abortion-related amendment to a Health and Human Services funding bill that would not provide funding to the President’s administration to implement the so-called Title 10 rule that bans taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with patients or referring patients to abortion providers.

In response, the GOP has decided to delay a subcommittee markup on the bill scheduled for Thursday, CNN learns from aides.

The snag is just the first of likely many as lawmakers have returned to Washington with less than three weeks to avert a repeated government shutdown, all the while trying to find common ground on President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Democrats’ attempt to add the abortion provision was deemed “a troubling sign” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who argued that the effort was in violation of a recent bipartisan spending caps agreement that prevents the addition of controversial provisions.

Democrats, on their part, say that the provision is not controversial as two Republican senators were expected to support their amendment. They further maintain that Republicans’ complaints is an attempt to distract from their efforts to add billions of dollars to Trump’s border wall.

“They know darn well $12 billion additional money for the wall is not gonna fly with Senate Democrats or the House,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “So, they ought to get to serious negotiating now that they’ve shown the President their fealty to him.”

Senator Dick Shelby argued their “allocations are fair and good.”

“I’ve always said if the President spends it — and the courts have upheld what he’s been doing — than we ought to backfill it,” Shelby added.

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