Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday urged House Republicans to back away from their demands on a stopgap government funding measure and work with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.
Schumer warned the demands rolled out last month by the conservative House Freedom Caucus can’t pass and that a shutdown would harm the nation. Government funding expires Sept. 30.
“By the end of this month, the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans all must get on the same page keeping the government open and avoiding a pointless shutdown, a shutdown that will hurt just about every single American,” Schumer warned.
He urged House Republicans to follow the example set by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has passed all 12 annual spending bills with strong bipartisan support.
And he took aim at the demands laid out by the House Freedom Caucus, warning against “one party, particularly a party governed by an extreme 30 or 40 members, filling out a wish list they know can’t pass.”
“The only way to avoid a shutdown is through bipartisanship. I urge, I plead with House Republican leadership to follow the Senate’s lead and pass bipartisan, Democrat and Republican Appropriations bills, supported by both parties,” he said.
The House Freedom Caucus on Aug. 21 formally said it plans to oppose any government funding bill that doesn’t meet a series of conditions. Those included the top-line discretionary funding level being lowered to $1.471 trillion, below the $1.59 trillion topline number set by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) earlier this year in a deal to raise the debt limit.
The demands also included adding the House-passed Secure the Border Act of 2023 to spending legislation and addressing the “unprecedented weaponization of the Justice Department and FBI” and ending the Pentagon’s “woke policies” as part of any spending deal.
Schumer countered those demands by pointing out Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the spending bills without “unseemly tactics.” He argued his Senate colleagues’ decision not to insist on reworking the debt limit deal or add poison-pill amendments “sets a good template for how things should work in Congress.”