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House GOP Keeps Alive The Prospect Of A Govt Shutdown Over Syrian Refugees

AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

Last month in the wake of the Paris attacks, the House of Representatives passed a standalone bill enhancing screenings for refugees 289 to 137. Forty seven Democrats voted 'yes,' opposing President Obama and his threat to veto the legislation.

If Democrats do scrap the refugee language in the omnibus the next question will be whether Republicans will be willing to live without it.

"It was part of our opening offer so obviously we think it is important,” a spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee told TPM.

According to a senior Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations, leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected the opening offer from Republicans for a variety of reasons because it "included more than 30 poison pill riders: numerous anti-environment, anti-worker, anti-Dodd-Frank riders as well as the House Syria refugee legislation."

Pelosi huddled with fellow Democratic leaders Tuesday evening and addressed her rank-and-file members Wednesday morning. According to the aide, Pelosi told members that "everything that we thought would have movement or that was still an open question, they just negated. This is similar to what they did on refugees. We were in good faith, we were together and all the rest – and then, they took a turn."

Democrats are drafting Republicans a counter offer, but it is unclear what riders they will scrub and whether Republicans will agree to Democrats' new demands.

Tuesday afternoon Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) warned Republicans not to include any refugee language in the omnibus.

“We have a lot to do and a lot of things to worry about, but refugees is not one," Reid said.

About The Author

Lauren Fox is a reporter at Talking Points Memo.