Schumer Makes Procedural Move to Avert Government Shutdown

Schumer made the first procedural move on Jan. 11 that would allow for a measure to prevent a government shutdown to pass.
Schumer Makes Procedural Move to Avert Government Shutdown
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks to the press after a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other lawmakers in Congress in Washington on Dec. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Jackson Richman

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) made the first procedural move on Jan. 11 that would allow for a measure to prevent a government shutdown to pass.

Mr. Schumer filed cloture on what is called a “shell bill,” which is a bill that gets changed into something else. Here, the measure is a House-passed bill related to hunting whose text will be replaced with a continuing resolution (CR) to keep funding the government at current levels. A shell bill allows for procedural hurdles to be cleared while the details of the final text of the bill are being worked out. This allows for the final text to be passed in a final vote with the procedural votes already done.

Mr. Schumer’s move comes eight days before the first of the two-laddered CR that passed late last year expires on Jan. 19. It deals with food safety, housing, and transportation. The other CR, which relates to the military, scientific research, and national parks, expires on Feb. 2.

Mr. Schumer said on Jan. 9 that a CR would be needed, though he wouldn’t speculate how long a CR would be, but that he would try to get it done as soon as possible.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also said a CR would be necessary.

“We need to prevent a government shutdown,” he said.

The CR sets up a fight with House Republicans as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) hasn’t committed to putting forth a CR. He, along with many Republicans, has called for border security measures amid the spending fight with the crisis at the southern border.

Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) told NTD that any spending deal has to include securing the border.

Mr. Ogles said that if the GOP were to get “real border security,” he would be open to supporting a CR. However, he said the “ideal solution” would be to have a long-term funding bill that consists of border security measures.

Mr. Schumer’s filing cloture comes as he reached a long-term government funding deal over the weekend with Mr. Johnson.

The top line is $1.59 trillion with $69 billion in discretionary spending that was in a side deal struck last year between then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Joe Biden—bringing the total spending amount to almost $1.66 trillion. The $1.59 trillion figure was also agreed to by Mr. McCarthy and President Biden as part of increasing the debt ceiling.

The budget deal includes $886 billion in defense spending, with a 5.2 percent pay raise for members of the military and $704 billion for other discretionary spending.

The deal made between Mr. Schumer and Mr. Johnson includes $10 billion in IRS personnel cuts this year on top of the $10 billion in such cuts already set for this year under the debt ceiling agreement. That means that IRS personnel cuts scheduled for next year were moved to this year.

It also consists of $6.1 billion in COVID-19 spending cuts.

However, the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus denounced the deal, calling it “a total failure” and saying it was even worse than they thought.

Some Republicans are calling for shutting down the government.

“Shut down the border or shut down the government,” Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) posted on X, formerly Twitter.

“What we can’t do is do what Republicans always do, which is ... to go cut some watered-down deal that won’t do the job in order to get something else,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told NTD on Jan. 9.

“Republicans agreeing to spending levels $69 billion higher than last summer’s debt ceiling ‘deal,’ with no significant policy wins is nothing but another loss for America,” Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), the new chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, posted on X on Jan. 7, the day Mr. Johnson announced the deal.

“At some point, having the House majority has to matter,” he continued. “Stop funding this spending with an open border!”

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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