Schumer: Senate May Need to Act First to Prevent Government Shutdown

While appropriations bill must originate in the House, a CR to still fund the government at current levels past the Sept. 30 can start in the Senate.
Schumer: Senate May Need to Act First to Prevent Government Shutdown
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks with reporters during a press conference in Congress in Washington on Sept. 19, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Jackson Richman

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Sept. 21 that the upper congressional chamber may need to act first to prevent a government shutdown.

“We may now have to go first … given the House,” Mr. Schumer told CNN.

“[Senate Minority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell and I are talking and we have a great deal of agreement on many parts of this,” he continued. “It’s never easy to get a big bill, a CR bill done, but I am very, very optimistic that McConnell and I can find a way and get a large number of votes both Democratic and Republican in the Senate.”

While appropriations bill must originate in the House, in accordance with the Constitution, a CR, or continuing resolution, to still fund the government at current levels past the Sept. 30 deadline can start in the Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed all of its appropriations bills, doing so for the first time since 2018. However, the House is the only congressional chamber to have passed one of the 12 appropriations bills — it passed the MilCon-VA appropriations bill in July, shortly before the August congressional recess.

“Hopefully, the House will see that working in a bipartisan way is best for the American people and best for Speaker [Kevin] McCarthy,” Mr. Schumer told CNN. “He can’t let this small group of hard-right people who are almost fanatics who want the government to shut down despite the harm it does to the American people to govern the whole body.”

On Sept. 21, Mr. Schumer filed cloture for a CR to be voted on by the Senate next week.

Mr. McCarthy suffered two procedural defeats this week as the House was unable to proceed to consideration of the Department of Defense appropriations bill as five Republicans joined all Democrats to block the move.

Contentious issues amid the spending fight include border security and further assistance to Ukraine, the latter of which has caused division within the Republican Party.

A CR was reached between the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus and moderate Main Street Caucus over the weekend that included a border security bill passed by the House earlier this year even though it excludes mandatory E-verify.

As of Sept. 22, the votes are not there for a CR to pass the House as a handful of Republicans, who narrowly control the House, have expressed various reasons for their objections. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) does not want a CR whatsoever, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has said she would only vote for a CR under certain conditions such as no more funding for Ukraine, which is repelling an invasion by Russia.

The failed Sept. 21 vote came the day after the House GOP met to try to iron out differences on spending.

There, members reached a consensus on top-line appropriations spending of $1.526 trillion, and that apparently caused there to be enough votes to pass the rule to move to the consideration of the Defense Department appropriations bill as Reps. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) flipped from voting against to voting for the rule. Members told The Epoch Times as they left the meeting that the votes are almost there for a CR—though the number of GOP opponents remains unclear.

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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