Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have until next Friday to work out a deal to keep the government running, but the negotiations are stalled over environmental policy disputes that Northern Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim Moran is trying to work out.
Some of the spending bills are being held back by the policy language of riders -- on which the two parties remain far apart.
The government only has enough money to keep the lights for another week, but the two parties remain far apart over some policy language, called "riders," included in some of the spending bills. Think of a rider as a skateboarder who’s latched onto a car -- not necessarily invited, but definitely along for the ride. Included in the mix are riders to limit the government’s ability to regulate pollution that crosses state lines and to cut toxic pollution from power plants. Moran, a lead negotiator for his party, says they’re non-starters.
"I can’t ask the Democratic caucus to support anti-environmental riders that run roughshod over the public’s health," says Moran. He says the lead GOP negotiators support a compromise to remove some of the controversial language, but he says the Tea Party backed Republicans are tying the negotiator’s hands.
"You can’t really compromise with extreme ideologues and that’s what we’re dealing with on the part of some folks on the other side."
House Republicans argue the environmental language already passed the regular committee process and they don’t want to see them negotiated out in secret. A deal needs to be reached on the spending bills sometime this weekend.