The parties often disagree over whether a provision is a purposeful poison pill or simply a demonstration of the majority's ability to write bills reflecting their own priorities.
A GOP measure the House will debate this week renewing violence against women programs drops the Senate-approved language protecting people based on their sexual orientation. It would make it harder for abused illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. unless they cooperate in investigations about their allegations.
That language is "a poison pill and obnoxious" and will cause many Democrats to oppose the overall bill, said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. "It's changing the law in a way we can't accept because it will make more women get battered" because their cooperation would make them vulnerable to further abuse from their spouses, he said.
Rep. Sandy Adams, the bill's chief sponsor, said that provision was not a poison pill. Adams, R-Fla., said it was included to try reducing fraudulent claims of abuse "so the money we're providing goes to victims and their services.
"At the end of the day, I'd hope everyone agrees that we want these services provided for our victims," she said.
Other instances in which one side included language sure to cause the other party to oppose a bill that otherwise seemed destined for approval include:
—A bill last summer financing Federal Aviation Administration programs. House Republicans inserted language overturning an agency rule making it easier for airline and railroad workers to unionize;
—Last winter's bitter fight over extending Social Security payroll tax cuts through 2012. An early Senate Democratic bill financed the cost with a tax on people earning over $1 million a year, while a GOP version trimmed the federal bureaucracy and extended a pay freeze on civil servants.
—Bills financing the Iraq war under President George W. Bush, into which House Democrats put language forcing troop withdrawals.
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