By Mike Lillis - 04-27-17 10:47 AM EDT
House Democrats will oppose a short-term spending bill if Republican leaders attempt to expedite an ObamaCare repeal bill this week, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) warned Thursday.
Hoyer, the Democratic whip, spoke with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Thursday morning to warn him of the Democrats' position.
The threat is significant because GOP leaders will likely need Democratic votes to pass a short-term spending bill in the face of opposition from conservatives historically opposed to government funding bills.
"If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well," Hoyer said in an email.
"Republicans continue to struggle to find the votes to pass a bill that will kick 24 million Americans off their health coverage, allow discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, and impose an age tax on older Americans. That's why they are trying to jam it through the House before their Members can hear from the American people this weekend about their opposition to this horrible legislation."
The Democrats' move comes as bipartisan negotiators in both chambers are getting closer to an agreement on an omnibus spending bill to prevent a government shutdown. If Congress doesn't act before midnight Friday night, much of the federal government would shut down.
Republicans are eying a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, to buy time for the negotiators to iron out the remaining sticking points - a temporary extension that was expected to pass easily with bipartisan support.
But Republican leaders, still licking their wounds from a failed ObamaCare repeal-and-replace effort last month and hoping to get President Trump a big victory within his first 100 days, are trying to rally the GOP support for a newly released version of the healthcare overhaul. That vote could come as early as this week.
Hoyer and the Democrats, by threatening to withhold support for the CR, are trying to nip that effort in the bud.
"If Republicans pursue this partisan path of forcing Americans to pay more for less and destabilizing our county's health care system - without even knowing how much their bill will cost - Republicans should be prepared to pass a one-week Continuing Resolution on their own," Hoyer said.
--This report was updated at 11:01 a.m.