McConnell Says GOP Won’t Allow Government Shut Down

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
February 27, 2024Congress
McConnell Says GOP Won’t Allow Government Shut Down
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) arrives for a Senate Republican meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 8, 2024. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Monday that GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber are “not going to allow the government to shut down.”

He made the comment to reporters before entering the Senate chamber at the start of a week in which lawmakers will labor to reach a deal to fund the government beyond Friday. Without the deal, a partial government shutdown may occur.

In remarks on the Senate floor on Monday, Mr. McConnell emphasized the urgent need for timely action on government funding to prevent a partial lapse that could shutter federal departments and agencies.

“Shutting down the government is harmful to the country. And it never produces positive outcomes—on policy or politics,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. McConnell warned that without a swift resolution by Friday, the nation could experience disruptions across vital sectors, including agriculture, transportation, military construction, and essential services at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Senate Republican leader said that a government shutdown is entirely avoidable, citing the Senate’s passage of the first full-year spending package for critical areas last November.

“We have the means—and just enough time this week—to avoid a shutdown and to make serious headway on annual appropriations,” Mr. McConnell said. However, he stressed that it requires lawmakers to work together to achieve “clean appropriations” and avoid “poison pills.”

The veteran GOP leader, noting the significance of the matter, said that millions of Americans would be closely monitoring Congress’s actions this week.

“American farmers and ranchers, like the Kentuckians visiting Washington this week, expect us to take the challenges they face in feeding our nation seriously,” he said.

“Veterans who swore to protect and defend expect us to keep our promise to care for them when they return home. In the coming days, we’ll need to do just that.”

Roadblocks may come in the GOP-led House.

The sticking points in the political standoff are President Joe Biden’s contentious request for billions of dollars for Ukraine and Israel and concessions sought by hardline Republicans, including on U.S. border security, which has been an issue of bipartisan concern.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill to fund the federal government for the fiscal year that included $95 billion for Ukraine and Israel aid but not for the southern U.S. border. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) declared the bill dead on arrival in the lower chamber.

As of Monday, there has been no sign in Congress that spending bills to prevent a partial government shutdown have made much progress.

Upon leaving a meeting in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) office on Monday, Mr. McConnell repeated his sentiment to reporters, saying that Republicans aren’t going to let a shutdown happen this week.

Earlier, Mr. Schumer also told reporters that “Democrats are doing everything we can to avoid a shutdown.”

The four Congressional leaders, from both sides of the aisle, are scheduled to visit the White House on Tuesday to meet with President Biden, a Democrat.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president intends to urge a deal to keep the government funded beyond Friday and continue his advocacy for billions of dollars to be provided to Ukraine and Israel.

“A basic, basic priority or duty of Congress is to keep the government open,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said. “So, that’s what the president wants to see. He’ll have those conversations.”

Last month, Congress passed a “continuing resolution,” a stopgap measure, to extend the deadline to pass its annual appropriations bills to March 1 and March 8 for the Senate and House, respectively. The CR meant that some government departments continued to be funded at current levels, including the Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State, until Friday.

Without the CR, government funding would have otherwise partially run out on Jan. 19. This was Congress’ third such short-term measure in four months.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.