Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday blocked a House bill providing funding to reopen national parks amid the government shutdown, saying he would not allow the GOP to pick and choose from among favored programs and insisting the only way out is to pass all spending at the same time.
Republicans tried to get an agreement in the Senate to restore the parks money along with funding for the National Institutes of Health, the military reserves and National Guard, and veterans affairs, but Democrats objected to each of those agreements in turn.
“I, we, support veterans and parks and NIH and all these different elements of government that are closed. But we also are not going to choose between veterans, cancer research, disease control, highway safety or the FBI,” Mr. Reid said.
He and fellow Democrats again tried to demand that the Senate pass a bill to fund basic government operations through Nov. 15 at an annualized rate of $986 billion.
Republicans, though, said the Senate has already passed that once before, and it’s stuck in the House. They said if Mr. Reid would have allowed the House bills to pass, those could have gone straight to President Obama to bring immediate relief for some.
The debate on the Senate floor turned poisonous for a few minutes when Mr. Reid verbally savaged Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who wasn’t on the chamber floor but who Mr. Reid said was pulling the strings on the GOP strategy and encouraging the GOP-dominated House’s hardline stance.
“Senator Cruz is now joint Speaker. He lectures the House,” Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said.
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, firing a warning shot back at Mr. Reid by reading a passage from Senate rules that forbids disparaging the motives of fellow senators.