Senate to move first on stopgap funding, hoping to pressure House 

September 25, 2023

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday planned on having his chamber move first on a stopgap funding measure, putting more pressure on the House to avoid a government shutdown.

Schumer took the procedural step on Thursday to allow the Senate to vote on the short-term stopgap measure this week. The vote is scheduled in the Senate for 5:30pm ET Tuesday—little more than four days before a midnight September 30 deadline to fund the federal government or endure a government shutdown.

The Democratic-led Senate’s plan is to send their stopgap bill to the Republican-led House and put pressure on Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to bring it to the floor for a vote, according to several Senators who expect their bill to receive enough bipartisan support to pass it.

McCarthy’s made the decision to shut the government down. Period. Stop,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said, previewing the offensive Senate Democrats plan to launch against the Speaker this week.

But McCarthy is also feeling mounting pressure from the other side of the political spectrum. Former President Trump has been encouraging a government shutdown on his social media platform Truth Social.

On Sunday Trump wrote, addressing his fellow Republicans, “UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING, SHUT IT DOWN! Close the Border, stop the Weaponization of ‘Justice,’ and End Election Interference.”

On Saturday, McCarthy voiced his continuing frustration with hardline members of his caucus on Saturday, saying that they “like to stop everything, and then they turn around and say it’s your fault you’re not getting anything done.” That remark came two days after the Speaker had said the hardliners just want to “burn the place down.”

Despite having been repeatedly stymied by conservatives in several efforts to pass a stopgap funding measure or a defense appropriations bill in recent weeks, McCarthy said Monday that the House would vote on an appropriations measure that would open debate on four fiscal 2024 spending bills.

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reminded the members of his party that government shutdowns have historically been “a loser for Republicans, politically.”

The last government shutdown occurred in December 2018-January 2019 and stretched on for five weeks in a dispute between then-President Trump and Democratic Congressional leadership over funding his border wall.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, that shutdown—the nation’s longest ever—lowered the nation’s projected level of real GDP in the first quarter of 2019 by $8 billion, of which the CBO estimated only $5 billion was recovered.

PHOTO: McCarthy and Schumer at the White House with President Biden in May

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