No. 2 Republican Senator Warns Government Shutdown Could Happen This Weekend

December 18, 2020 Updated: December 19, 2020

A member of the Republican leadership in the Senate warned a partial government shutdown may occur starting early on Saturday morning.

Funding for the federal government is slated to expire at midnight on Friday.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said that some senators might not support a continuing resolution to fund the government if leaders do not come to an agreement on separate CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus stimulus measures.

“If it’s for a very short amount of time on a weekend, hopefully it’s not going to be something that would be all that harmful,” Thune told Fox Business. “The preferable route is to keep the government open and get this done and get it done quickly.”

In a comment to another reporter on Friday, Thune said that passing the continuing resolution to avert the government shutdown “could prove to be a pretty heavy lift.” The Senate would need the support of every senator to approve the measure in a timely manner, Thune said.

“It’s coming together, it’s just taking time, but it’s slower,” he added. “And you know I think we have to assume that even when there’s a deal announced, that by the time it gets written up and processed, we’re going to be pushing through the weekend.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) also told reporters the chamber would go into a recess until about 5 p.m. ET as leaders attempt to obtain a pathway forward. Hoyer told reporters that he told members of the House should be free on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday.

However, earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) added that he was “more optimistic” a deal could be reached to avert the shutdown.

“The talks remain productive,” McConnell said Friday on the floor of the Senate, adding he is “even more optimistic now than I was last night that a bipartisan, bicameral framework for a major rescue package is very close at hand.”