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Republicans offer spending bill, but Democrats oppose it as deadline approaches

Senate Republicans on Thursday released a bill that would keep the government funded at current levels through Dec. 9, but Democrats appear to oppose the legislation because it doesn’t provide aid for the Flint water crisis and because of other provisions.

The spending bill, known as a continuing resolution (CR), would provide $1.1 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus, but it’s offset by $400 million and would take money away from programs Democrats view as crucial.

In response to floods that ravaged Louisiana and other states recently, the legislation would also provide $500 million in supplemental funding.

But Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that Democrats are against the measure because it doesn’t contain funding to help Flint recovery from its water crisis.

Speaking on the Senate floor, the Maryland Democrat said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, filed a “Republican-only bill.”

“We Democrats cannot vote for that [bill], and urge others to vote against it. What we want is to be sure that we avoid a government shutdown and a government showdown and continue the constructive talks that we’ve had. But the [bill] offered by the Republican Majority Leader falls short,” Mikulski said.

She emphasized she and many Democrats oppose it because there are no provisions to help Flint and other “partisan policy riders” like one, she said, on Securities and Exchange Commission political disclosures. It prohibits the SEC from requiring public companies to disclose political spending and Congress actually passed the provision in the government spending package last December. Democrats want to include language in the CR that would strip it out.

Democrats in the House also appear to be on the same page, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said.

“So far, I haven’t seen anything that our Democrats in the House would vote for.  We have some members who are saying they’re not voting for anything that doesn’t have Flint in it,” she told reporters at her weekly press conference Thursday.

The stalemate over government funding comes just over a week before the deadline for lawmakers to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1

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