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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Need To Pass Legislation To Avoid A Government Shutdown

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the House-passed CR to fund the government and the importance of bipartisanship to avoid a government shutdown. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Last night, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a temporary extension of government funding into early next year.

The vote in the House was 336-95, with 209 Democrats and 127 Republicans voting in favor. 93 Republicans voted against it.

Shortly after the vote, I moved to place the House-passed bill on the Senate’s legislative calendar, and I have just filed cloture on the motion to proceed to get this process moving in the Senate.

Today, my Democratic colleagues and I will work with Republicans – I will work with Leader McConnell – to see if we can come to an agreement to accelerate this bill’s passage.

If both sides cooperate, there is no reason we can’t finish this bill even as soon as today, but we’re going to keep working to see what’s possible.

Now, the House’s CR is far from perfect, but we are moving forward because we believe it accomplishes two things that I and other Democrats have been insistent on for weeks: it will avoid a government shutdown, and it will do so without any of the cruel cuts or poison pills that the hard right pushed for.

I think it was very important that Speaker Johnson recognized that Democratic votes are necessary to pass anything of significance in Congress. I reminded him every time I've spoken to him that we have to work in a bipartisan way to get anything done. If he follows the clarion call of the hard right – whose views are far away from even the mainstream of his conference let alone the American people or the Senate – that will lead to disaster, the same problems that we saw under Speaker Boehner, Speaker Ryan, and Speaker McCarthy.

Thus far, the Speaker has heeded the lesson as we finished the appropriations process. Bipartisanship is the only way forward. As he once noted, when you have a Senate that's Democratic and a president that is Democratic, a Republican House, particularly one that just follows what the hard right wants, will not get anything accomplished.

Of course, this CR does not do everything we want. Above all, we must finish working on President Biden’s emergency supplemental request, so we can send aid to Israel, provide humanitarian aid for innocent civilians in Gaza, stand with Ukraine, and provide funds for the Indo-Pacific. We will continue to work with Leader McConnell on a way forward.

We intend to move on the President’s supplemental package sometime in the coming weeks. As everyone knows, the biggest holdup right now is Republicans’ insistence that they’ll only approve Ukraine aid in exchange for immigration items. We’re going to work in the coming weeks in good faith to see if there’s any possibility for a reasonable, realistic compromise that Democrats can support.

To come to such a compromise, both sides will have to give. It can't be one side all the way, as when our Republican colleagues offered us basically H.R. 2, which we totally oppose and had no input into. So, I hope we can get this reasonable, realistic compromise on border done.

But the bottom line is that we need to get Israel aid done, we need to get Ukraine aid done, we need to get humanitarian aid done, we need to get Indo-Pacific aid done, and linking any of these bipartisan issues to extremist poison pills on immigration or any other issue would be a colossal blunder that history will look very unkindly upon. I hope we can come to a solution in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, the most important order of business is to keep the government open. We’ll keep working over the course of the day to fast-track the House’s bipartisan CR bill. 

No drama, no delay, no government shutdown: that’s our goal and we hope we have an agreement very soon.

To avoid a shutdown, with no cuts in vital programs and no poison pills, is a very good solution for the American people.