McConnell: Shut­down is still avoid­able

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “very con­fi­dent” Repub­li­cans and Democrats in Congress can work to­gether to pass a bud­get be­fore a gov­ern­ment shut­down.

“Yeah, I’m very con­fi­dent,” Mr. McConnell said on “Fox News Sun­day.” “The two ap­pro­pri­a­tions com­mit­tees are work­ing on the bills on a bi­par­ti­san ba­sis. We’ll be talk­ing to Se­nate Democrats. They will be rel­e­vant to this process. This will re­quire 60 votes. I’m con­fi­dent Se­nate Democrats are not go­ing to want to shut down the gov­ern­ment.”

Congress must pass leg­is­la­tion fund­ing the gov­ern­ment by April 28 to avoid a shut­down. Some points of con­tention in­clude $1.5 bil­lion in fund­ing to be­gin construction on a bor­der wall, in­creased de­fense spend­ing and de­fund­ing Planned Par­ent­hood.

Mr. McConnell, Ken­tucky Repub­li­can, said he does not an­tic­i­pate any of those dis­agree­ments lead­ing to a “cat­a­strophic event.”

“Look, we’re go­ing to ne­go­ti­ate all of those items in the con­text of those fund­ing bills, which will fund the gov­ern­ment through Sept. 30,” he said. “We’ll be de­bat­ing these is­sues again for next year’s ap­pro­pri­a­tions, which start Oct. 1. But we’ll be able to work all that out.”

Mr. McConnell said Democrats of­ten ac­cused Repub­li­cans of try­ing to shut down the gov­ern­ment, and would be wise to avoid the la­bel.

“They used to use that against us all the time, and I think it worked pretty ef­fec­tively for them,” he said. “I can’t imag­ine they would want to ac­quire the ‘gov­ern­ment shut­down’ la­bel.”

He also en­cour­aged Pres­i­dent Trump not to worry about be­ing blamed in the event of a shut­down, say­ing it will only re­flect poorly on the leg­is­la­ture.

“I think the Se­nate Democrats know ev­ery time we’ve had a gov­ern­ment shut­down sit­u­a­tion, it’s been the Congress that’s been blamed and not the pres­i­dent,” he said. “So I would ad­vise Pres­i­dent Trump don’t worry about them stick­ing that la­bel on you. Congress owns the gov­ern­ment shut­down brand.”

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