House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that the “tail is wagging the dog” in the Republican party in the ongoing debate over spending on Capitol Hill.
Mrs. Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill that Democrats are prepared to work with Republicans to pass a continuing resolution that keeps government operations running past Monday, but that it has been a heavy lift because of the infighting within the GOP.
“It is impossible for Democrats to negotiate with Republicans because they can’t even negotiate with themselves,” the California Democrat said. “Instead of legislating responsibly, they want to live dangerously.”
The GOP-controlled House is waiting on the Democrat-led Senate to act on a spending bill that would keep the government open through Nov. 15 and strip funding for Obamacare.
The Senate is expected to strip out the Obamacare provision and send the bill back to the House as early as Friday.
The process, though, has been bogged down by a breakaway group of conservative Senators led by Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas who are calling on their colleagues to do everything they can to gum up the legislative process and stop funding for Obamacare.
“This is silly,” Mrs. Pellosi said. “Maybe they did not get some orientation on how serious the work is that we do here. Clearly they are a manifestation of what President Washington cautioned against when he left office, which is political parties at war with their own government, and that is what we have: the tail wagging the dog of the Republican party.”
Still, Mrs. Pelosi said she remains optimistic that the two sides can strike a deal on the continuing resolution, but that Democrats won’t negotiate over the nation’s borrowing limit.
“It is two different subjects,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters, alluding to the two legislative fights. “Yes, they are all about budget, but one is the full faith and credit of the United States of America and the other is a priorities debate on spending and saving and growth.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Congress this week that the nation would exhaust its borrowing limit no later than Oct. 17 - setting the stage for another legislative battle on the debt limit.
Mrs. Pelosi said that 186 House Democrats have signed a letter in support of raising the debt ceiling without conditions.
Republicans, meanwhile, are seeking additional spending cuts.
“They’re holding the entire economy hostage, and their tea party ransom demands come at a significant cost to our economic security,” Mrs. Pelosi said.