Senate GOP Dismisses House’s Government Shutdown Speculation

( – Congress is facing a looming deadline of September 30 to pass at least 12 appropriations bills through both houses. Functionally, there are less than 10 legislative days to pass the dozen funding measures.

Alternatively, Congress can choose to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government until it can work through the spending legislation. While members of the House Freedom Caucus have vowed to shut down the government before submitting to the CR, Senate GOP members are dismissing House shutdown speculation.

House Conservatives Flirt With Shutdown

Members like Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), a member in good standing of the House Freedom Caucus, argue that bringing to government to a screeching halt is preferable to continuing the current Democratic spending policies. The Hill reported that he suggested that “most Americans won’t even miss” the portion of the government that shuts down. He estimated that some 85% of the federal government would remain operational during the shutdown.

In an August 21 statement on X, formerly Twitter, the Freedom Caucus categorically opposes any CR which does not include The Secure Border Act of 2023, which passed the House in May. Additionally, the CR must address the weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI, and end “woke” policies in the Pentagon.

Yet, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is urging House Republicans to pass a short-term CR. Based on the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which the House GOP forced on President Joe Biden in return for raising the Debt Ceiling in June, the resolution could only last until December 2023 at current appropriation levels at the longest. As of January 1, stringent funding restrictions would kick in until Congress passes appropriations measures.

McCarthy told reporters, “I don’t think anybody wants a government shutdown.” He also cautioned that a shutdown would interrupt important House investigations into the Biden family’s foreign business practices and Hunter Biden.

House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer (R-KY) concurred. “Any type of shutdown would … interfere with our investigation,” Comer said. He argued that Biden administration officials would take any opportunity to cloud the probes and inhibit transparency, including a shutdown.

GOP Senators Pour Cold Water on Shutdown Proposals

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) counseled his House colleagues considering a shutdown, saying, “I think it’s better to figure this out before the end of the fiscal year and rather than engage in that sort of self destructive behavior.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) reminded the fiscal-minded Freedom Caucus members that government shutdowns are extremely expensive propositions because the government always reopens, eventually at “at great expense, great inconvenience for the American people” usually having accomplished nothing of note.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) focused on the costs to constituents, like Alaskan crab fishermen. The last time the government shut down, in 2014, the crab fishermen were unable to obtain the permits they needed on October 1 to pursue their professions. It was devastating to the industry and to individual fishermen. If the government shuts down again this year, they face the same dilemma.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) advocated for the CR, pointing out the gaps that remain between House and Senate versions of the dozen appropriation bills. Ten days hardly seems enough to negotiate a compromise on even one measure, much less 12.

~Here’s to Our Liberty!

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