Senate Democrats are forecasting a government shutdown next month if Republicans don’t acquiesce to their demands for a stopgap bill that runs only through this year.
“The Senate is being run into the ground and unless it changes course … we’re headed straight for another government shutdown,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said in a call with reporters Thursday.
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Reid, joined by Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said Democrats won’t agree to a short-term funding bill that goes into next year, an idea several House GOP hard-liners floated before the August recess.
And with Congress scheduled to be in session for only a month at most before going dark again until after the election, the Democrats’ entrenched position will be a headache for Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
“We are not doing anything into next year and Republicans should be made aware of that right now,” Reid said, adding that he had a private conservation with President Barack Obama on Wednesday and Democrats are in lockstep that they will not back a stopgap bill beyond Christmas.
But several House conservatives and even some top Senate Republicans, including Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, have said they prefer a stopgap that kicks funding into early next year, preferring to turn to an omnibus package when a new president can dictate spending priorities.
Congress gavels back in session Tuesday, giving lawmakers four weeks to move a bill that keeps the government open beyond Sept. 30 and has enough support to pass both chambers.
A House GOP leadership memo on Wednesday said “discussions will continue” within the conference on a continuing resolution but didn’t offer any details beyond that.
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