US Politics

Sen. Cornyn: Dems Broken Promises, Impeachment Threaten to Deadlock Budget at Years End

News Analysis

WASHINGTON—Another end-of-year government shutdown crisis will result because of congressional Democrats “single-minded obsession with impeaching the president” and their breaking of promises made in the August budget deal, according to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

“Last August, we had an agreement that provided a roadmap for negotiations this fall and we all promised to work together in good faith and to stay away from poison pill policy riders and other things that might derail this appropriations process,” Cornyn said in a Dec. 2 floor speech to the Senate.

Cornyn said the “bipartisan, bicameral agreement” was meant “to guide the appropriations process and to hopefully eliminate this uncertainty going into the Christmas season.”

“Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues went back on their promises because of a disagreement on 0.3 percent of the federal budget,” the Texas Republican said. The disagreement “derailed all of the appropriations process and leaves us in our current state of dysfunction.”

The 0.3 percent Cornyn was referring to was President Donald Trumps shift of $5 billion in military funding to help pay for construction of the new wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

The “bipartisan, bicameral agreement” that Cornyn referenced was the Aug. 4 handshake deal among congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle and both chambers of Congress.

Democratic insistence on maintaining amendments designed to protect federal funding for abortions was the ultimate demand that broke the August deal against poison pills, according to Cornyns office.

There were widespread doubts about the strength of the agreement as soon as it was struck, especially regarding poison pills. Asked about Democratic objections to certain Republican spending policies, including border wall funding, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “Well, some are poison pills, and some are not, but hopefully, we can work all these out.”

Some progress was made between August and December, most notably agreement on spending totals for each of the 12 major appropriation bills, but Schumer made clear in a Senate floor speech delivered before Cornyn spoke Dec. 2 that Democrats still insist on numerous provisions that Republicans view as poison pills.

“Senate Democrats want to ensure that the final appropriations bills include several of our policies and priorities,” he said. “So, let me say, this is what we Senate Democrats want to make sure is in these bills:

“Significant resources to combat the opioid and gun violence epidemics, significant investment in infrastructure, significant investment in child care; funding for the Violence Against Women Act needs to be maintained, or ideally, increased—that is a Democratic priority—and there must be—must be—funding to secure our elections in advance of next years presidential election.”

Schumer told the Senate that “Democrats strongly oppose the president stealing money from our military families to pay for this border wall. We have fought for provisions to stop this theft, will continue to do so.”

On the impeachment issue, Cornyn said he fears it will block consideration of Trumps proposed United States–Mexico–Canada (USMCA) trade deal and make further bipartisan progress on issues such as the budget impossible.

“With impeachment using up most of the oxygen in Washington, Im afraid our ability to get bipartisan work done is getting smaller and smaller. If the impeachment circus makes it way to this side of the Capitol, that ability may completely go away,” he told tRead More – Source

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