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Reid, Schumer Dodge Questions on Why They Oppose Short-Term Funding Bill

2:20 PM, Apr 7, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Earlier today, Senate majority leader Harry Reid said during floor remarks that he would support a "clean" short-term spending bill passed by the House, and President Obama indicated later that he would sign such a bill. The problem, Reid said in a press conference later, is all of the "riders" the Republicans have included in their measure to fund the government for one week and the troops for the rest of the fiscal year. Reid said the dispute over riders boils down to two issues: "women's health" and "clean air."

But the GOP one-week CR/troop-funding bill doesn't include the rider regarding "clean air"—i.e. EPA regulations of carbon dioxide emissions—and it doesn't include the Pence amendment banning contraceptive funding for abortion provider Planned Parenthood. 

The only two riders in the Republican stopgap measure are a provision banning funding to move Gitmo detainees to U.S. soil and a ban on taxpayer-funding of abortion in the District of Columbia.

Reid hasn't said anything about Gitmo, so I asked him during today's press conference if the reason he and the president oppose the one-week CR is because it bans taxpayer funding of abortion in D.C. Reid suggested there were other riders as he headed for the door, but didn't specify which ones despite a couple followup questions. (You can watch the press conference here.)

"It's the riders that's the whole issue," Senator Chuck Schumer (D, N.Y.) told a gaggle of reporters after the press conference ended. So I asked Senator Schumer which particular riders he's talking about in the CR:

TWS: What are the riders in the CR—

SCHUMER: No, you've already asked 3 or 4 questions

TWS: You haven't answered the question, sir.

Schumer took a few questions from other reporters, but never answered my question.

Until the president and Democratic leaders explain otherwise, it appears the reason they oppose the short-term CR is that they'd rather shut down the government than reinstate the ban on taxpayer funding of abortion in Washington, D.C. In the past this ban, known as the Dornan amendment, was not a dealbreaker for Democrats.

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