Nancy Pelosi Says She's Unsure Crucial Spending Package Can Get Passed

| by Robert Fowler
House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

House Minority Leader and Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California has expressed doubt that she will be able to whip up the Democrat votes to get the crucial omnibus package passed. The U.S. House has until Dec. 18 to pass the $1.1 trillion government spending bill.

The omnibus is a year-end spending package that has to be passed to keep the U.S. government going.

The particulars of the omnibus have been hashed out for months, and while the spending package has the support of the White House and the leaderships of both political parties, there are Democrats and Republicans alike grumbling that they gave too many concessions.

Due to a high number of House Republicans saying that they will vote against the spending package because of their objections over the high levels government spending, pressure has fallen on the House Democrats to rally around the bill to pass it into the Senate.

The current estimate is that 100 House Democrats will have to vote yes to get the package passed, The Huffington Post reports.

During a Dec. 17 press conference, Pelosi was asked if she was confident that enough Democrats would vote for the omnibus.

“No,” Pelosi said, according to The Huffington Post.

“We’re talking it through," she added. "Members are reviewing it. There are people who have very serious concerns."

The reluctance of some House Democrats to vote for the bill stems from an attached provision that would lift the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

House Republicans gave many concessions on the environment, backing down from gutting environmental regulations imposed by the Obama administration. However, many House Democrats feel that the lift on oil exports will lead to higher carbon emissions in the U.S.

Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois called the provision “a disgrace,” The Hill reports.

“I don’t know if we negotiated from a position of power in this,” Gutiérrez added.

Pelosi has admitted that she is among the House Democrats angered by the oil export provision, saying that it undermines efforts to curb U.S. carbon emissions.

“The timing of it is so incredible,” Pelosi said, according to The Huffington Post. “Right when the rest of the world is saying, ‘We are going to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we are going to reduce emissions,’ we are taking an action that is going to increase emissions.”

Later on Dec. 17, Pelosi sent out a letter to her Democratic colleagues, explaining to them that the omnibus’ positives outweigh the perceived negative of lifting the oil export ban.

“While lift­ing the oil ex­port ban re­mains at­ro­cious policy, the wind and sol­ar tax cred­its in the Om­ni­bus will elim­in­ate around ten times more car­bon pol­lu­tion than the ex­ports of oil will add,” Pelosi wrote, according to the National Journal. 

The White House also reportedly reached out to House Democrats to shore up support for the bill.

Sources: The Hill, Huffington Post, National Journal / Photo Credit: Greg Nash/The Hill, Nancy Pelosi/Flickr