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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Urgent Need To Pass Bipartisan Appropriations Legislation To Avoid A Catastrophic Government Shutdown

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the immediate need to pass bipartisan appropriations legislation to fund the government and avoid a catastrophic shutdown. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

As Congress approaches the January 19th funding deadline – less than ten days away – both parties in both chambers must work together, quickly, to ensure we avoid a government shutdown.

Congressional leaders agree: a shutdown would be a terrible way to start the year. Speaker Johnson and I are on the same page on that. A shutdown will hurt the economy, halt a lot of the work of Congress and government, and endanger services that millions of Americans rely upon.

If reasonable members on both sides continue working together, we can ensure a shutdown is avoided. We took a big step last Sunday towards our goal when Speaker Johnson and I announced funding level toplines, and Appropriators right now are hard at work drafting the twelve appropriations bills. It’s good news that all four of the appropriators, the four corners, want to do this: Senator Murray, Senator Collins, Congressmembers Granger and DeLauro. I am hopeful that if we stay the course, we can avert a shutdown even with the tight deadline.

Now, I want to return to a point I made yesterday about some of my colleagues in the House.

As everyone knows, this is a period of divided government. Like it or not, it means that compromise is a necessity, and nobody is going to get everything they want in any negotiation.

And of course, the president is a Democrat and the Senate has a Democratic majority. Anyone who wants to get anything done knows that there has to be a compromise. Anyone who wants to get anything done knows that there has to be a compromise between the Democratic president, the Democratic majority in the Senate, and the Republican majority in the House. And of course, taking into account our Republican colleagues in the Senate and Democratic colleagues in the House.

But right now, there are thirty or so hard right Republicans in the House who labor under the illusion that they can bully everyone else into submission to get their narrow, hard right agenda enacted into law. That’s what they are trying to do in the appropriations process.

There’s only word to describe the hard right tactics: bullying, bullying. They want to bully their own conference, bully their own Speaker, bully the Congress, and bully the country into accepting their extremist views.

And it’s easy to see why the hard right spends so much time trying to bully the rest of Congress. They have little leverage otherwise because their views are wildly out of the mainstream. These thirty or so Republican chaos agents do not represent the views of most Americans. They don’t even represent the views of a great number of Republicans. They are MAGA radicals, extremists whose benchmark for success is paralysis, gridlock, chaos. They think a shutdown will help their party and help the country, but virtually no one else agrees. They’re on an island.

But here’s the thing: this kind of bullying almost never works. The hard right’s bullying didn’t work when we avoided default, it didn’t work when we avoided shutdowns last year, and it’s not going to work here.

Case in point: where things stand right now in the appropriations process is little different than where we were after we passed the FRA last summer.

The hard right wasted almost a year in the House by trying to bully their colleagues through the appropriations process. They wanted the Speaker to renege on the agreement codified in the FRA. Time and time again they thwarted the House GOP’s ability to even pass their own spending bills. They just wasted precious time.

But for all their bluster, the hard right has nothing – nothing – to show for their bullying: the agreement we reached Sunday is practically the same number leadership shook hands on back in June.

In a body comprised of 435 voting members, it is lunacy for the MAGA hard right to think they can puff their chest and bully the majority of their colleagues into submission. It won’t happen.

This year, the American people are going to pay close attention to which party is capable of addressing their everyday needs and which party is not.

They will pay close attention to who is willing to reach across the aisle to get things done and who is openly calling for – almost excited about – a shutdown that will hurt so many people. And the American people will note which is the party of chaos and which is the party of getting things done.

And make no mistake, the American people will not stand for radical MAGA Republicans whose only strategy for governing is to bully the rest of the country into submission. It will not work.