Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Democrats warn of a potential government shutdown as Biden calls a meeting with lawmakers

By 37ci3 Feb26,2024

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will host four top congressional leaders at the White House for talks on Tuesday as the Senate’s top Democrat warns of a potential partial government shutdown later in the week.

The high-level meeting is scheduled for just three days before funding for the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, as well as other programs, expires at the end of Friday. Funding for the rest of the government, including the Departments of Defense, State and Justice, will expire a week later, on March 8.

“We are days away from a partial government shutdown on March 1,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a letter to colleagues on Sunday. “Unless Republicans get serious, Republican shutdowns will endanger our economy, raise costs, undermine security and cause untold pain for the American people.”

Shutting down the Agriculture Department would threaten critical food aid programs for women and children and block loans for farmers, Schumer warned, while shutting down the Transportation Department could increase travel delays and safety risks by freezing air traffic controller training and halting investigations.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds a news conference discussing the National Security Supplement Bill
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned of a potential shutdown. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Schumer said that a first tranche federal funding bdiseases was to be available over the weekend “to give members ample time to consider the text”. “It’s clear now that House Republicans need more time to correct themselves,” he said, blaming the GOP for the missed deadline.

Part of the reason for the delay is that House conservatives are demanding that Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., add a number of conservative politicians to the spending bill, even though the Democratic-led Senate has rejected them.

Johnson fired back at Schumer on Sunday night, accusing him of engaging in “petty politics” and claiming the suspension was partly due to eleventh-hour “Democrat demands” that were not part of the Senate’s funding bills.

“Despite the counterproductive rhetoric in Leader Schumer’s letter, the House has worked tirelessly and continues to work in good faith to reach an agreement with the Senate to compromise government funding bills before the deadline,” Johnson said.

“In an era of divided government, Senate Democrats are trying to spend more on remaining priorities than their chamber agreed to at this late stage,” he said.

Another barrier to blocking is the congressional calendar. Senators return to Washington on Monday, but members of the House of Representatives are not scheduled to return to town until Tuesday, giving Congress little time to pass even undisclosed finance bills.

That almost certainly means House and Senate leaders will need another stopgap funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, to keep the government lights on past Friday.

In a conference call with House Republicans Friday evening, Johnson hinted at the possibility that another CR might need to extend funding for another week or two, though he said he loathed the idea of ​​passing another short-term funding bill.

Biden’s meeting with top Hill leaders – Schumer, Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y. — will focus not only on avoiding a shutdown, but also on passing a national security package that includes critical military aid to allies Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Fresh a He met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in LvivSchumer pressured Johnson to bring the Senate-passed and extra-recognized foreign aid bill to the House floor, warning that Russia could win the war if emergency aid is not sent.

“Congress now has a chance to ensure that Putin does not win.” A bipartisan national security supplement is currently sitting at Speaker Johnson’s feet,” Schumer wrote to his Senate colleagues on Sunday.

“I urge the Speaker to go to Ukraine and witness what we are witnessing, because I believe that it is virtually impossible for anyone of decency and good faith to see the horrors of this war first hand and turn away from Ukraine,” Schumer said. “If he brought it up, it would pass with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans. Now is the time to act.”

Johnson and conservatives in both chambers have argued that the United States should not send additional foreign aid to Ukraine until the southern border with Mexico is secure. Johnson wants tougher border policies along with aid to Ukraine.

“This is no time for petty politics,” Johnson said. “The House Republicans will continue to work in good faith and hope to get an outcome as soon as possible, even as we continue to insist on an immediate solution to our own border security.”

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By 37ci3

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