The appropriations process in the Senate may be derailed before its formal start. The Appropriations Committee was scheduled to start working on the 12 annual spending bills next week, but its chairman is pushing back against Democrats, who want to add coronavirus relief and policing reform to the discussion.

“Funding the government is a serious responsibility, and I will not allow the appropriations process to be hijacked and turned into a partisan sideshow,” Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, according to Roll Call.

GOP aides said the committee will not proceed with markups if Democrats don’t drop their demands, which they say are not about party politics.

“There is bipartisan agreement that we need to address the COVID pandemic,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee’s top Democrat. “And if we want to truly address the issues of racial injustice that George Floyd’s tragic death has brought to the surface, we need more than symbolism, we need to appropriate money for programs that advance these issues. Offering and considering amendments related to appropriations to address the most important issues of the day is not partisan, it is the job the Committee is here to do.”

DOD photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz