Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, has expressed concerns about the possibility of a government shutdown as the deadline for funding the upcoming fiscal year rapidly approaches. He stated, “I don’t believe a shutdown is the way to go, but I share the view that it’s highly probable.”
Both the House and Senate are under pressure to reach an agreement by September 30th to prevent a government shutdown.
“So, listen, I don’t think we should have a shutdown, but I agree with you that I think it is very likely,” Cruz told Bloomberg on Monday. “I think the reason it is likely is I think [President] Joe Biden and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] both believe politically it is in their best interest to have a shutdown.
“They believe that in a shutdown, the press will eagerly blame it on Republicans, and I think Biden and Schumer think they get a political benefit from it. So, I think their incentive is to try and force a shutdown. By the way, Schumer did that previously as well, and I think we’re likely headed to the same thing.”
Senator Cruz played a pivotal role in the government shutdown of 2013, where the aim was to pressure then-President Barack Obama into defunding the Affordable Care Act, as reported by the Washington Examiner. This shutdown endured for 16 days, making it the third longest in U.S. history.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on Monday, urged his fellow Republican conference members to be prepared for an extended legislative session over the weekend. This is in pursuit of passing a stopgap measure, commonly known as a continuing resolution, to keep government offices operational beyond the September 30th deadline.
However, there have been disparities in the spending levels proposed by the Republican-led House and the Democrat-led Senate appropriators in recent months. Senator Schumer, along with Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray and ranking member Susan Collins, has led an initiative where the Senate advanced the 12 annual appropriations bills using spending levels agreed upon by Biden and McCarthy. This move was aimed at avoiding a potential debt default in May.
Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin has raised objections to the expedited passage of any of these bills. Nevertheless, it is expected that senators will vote on a measure to circumvent Johnson’s opposition, a move that would require the approval of 67 senators to pass.
With various senators expressing dissatisfaction with the defense expenditure limits outlined in the agreement, Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky have made a commitment to bring a supplementary defense spending bill to a vote later in the year, as reported by the Examiner.