Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that Democrats are willing to negotiate with House Republicans over future spending if GOP lawmakers agree to fund all government operations and Obamacare through mid-November.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, though, immediately slapped the offer down, saying the House will push forward with their plan to pass narrowly targeted individual bills aimed a funding high-profile government agencies.
The exchange signaled that the two sides are not any closer to striking a deal to fund government operations.
The government has been shuttered since midnight Monday.
House Republicans failed to get the votes needed Tuesday to push a series of bills aimed fund veterans affairs and national parks.
With the exception of funding for the that military troops, Democrats have rejected the approach, saying they should not have to pick and chose between different government programs.
In a letter to Mr. Boehner, Mr. Reid said that in exchange for House Republicans approving the continuing funding resolution that passed out of the Senate he would tap conferees to sit down for additional fiscal talks.
“I hope that we can work together in this fashion,” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said. “Together, we can end this government shutdown and work together to address the important fiscal issues facing our Nation.”
Michael Steel, Mr. Boehner’s spokesman, brushed off the proposal as more of the same from Democrats, who have rejected repeated attempts from the House GOP to link government funding to proposals to delay or defund Obamcare.
Mr. Steel said the House Republicans will offer another set of bills that aim to fund the national parks, veterans programs and the National Institutes of Health, as well as to pay the National Guards and the military reserves.
“Today, the House will continue to pass bills that reflect the American people’s priorities,” he said. “The Senate passed the troop funding bill this weekend — will they now say ‘no’ to funding for veterans, our national parks and the National Institutes of Health?”