The Democratic leadership has said repeatedly that they reject the House GOP's one-week stopgap continuing resolution because of so-called "policy riders" that they say have nothing to do with funding the government and are only about furthering a conservative agenda. Republican senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking member on Budget, and John Thune of South Dakota told reporters and bloggers on a conference call this afternoon that it's the Democratic Senate and White House holding up budget negotiations for political and ideological reasons.
"Most government spending is part of the liberal agenda," said Thune.
As Democratic senator Chuck Schumer told THE WEEKLY STANDARD earlier today, the riders are the issue keeping Senate Democrats from voting on the short-term CR, which, if signed by the president, would avoid a government shutdown. (The White House released an official statement of policy that the president would not sign this bill.)
"It's not unusual to have riders on these bills," said Thune. Indeed, as Jonathan Allen points out, Democrats have included riders in spending bills in the past.
The particular riders Senate Democrats are objecting to in the one-week CR concern pulling funding for transporting Gitmo detainees to the U.S. in addition to reinstating on the ban of taxpayer funding of abortions in the District of Columbia. These are policies, Sessions and Thune say, that Republicans and Democrats have agreed to in the past.
"If they [the Democrats] want to sabotage an agreement, then I guess we'll have a shutdown," Sessions said.