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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Moving Forward To Avoid A Government Shutdown And The Need For Bipartisan Cooperation

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the Senate working to pass a continuing resolution for government funding to avert a needless government shutdown. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Over the weekend, Congressional leadership reached a bipartisan agreement on a clean extension of government funding until March 1st and March 8th, which will prevent a government shutdown. The focus of this week will be to pass this extension as quickly as we can.

Time is of the essence. If we don’t act soon, the government will run out of funding at midnight this Friday, January 19th – just a few days away.

So today, the Senate will take the first vote to move forward on the clean CR, putting the Senate on a path to pass the CR before Friday’s deadline.

If both sides continue to work in good faith, I am hopeful that we can wrap up work on the CR no later than Thursday.

The key to finishing our work this week will be bipartisan cooperation, in both chambers. You can’t pass these bills without support from Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate.

Passing a clean CR this week is important for two main reasons:

First, passing the CR, of course, will avert a harmful and unnecessary government shutdown. No reasonable member on either side – Democrat or Republican – wants a government shutdown. Both sides recognize that a government shutdown would mean crushing delays to veterans’ programs, nutrition programs for women, infants, and children, delayed benefits for our military, and so much more.

Second, passing the CR will give our appropriators time to finish drafting all twelve bills to reflect our bipartisan agreement. Congressional leaders have already agreed to a topline number that will protect critical priorities like housing, veterans’ benefits, health care, nutrition programs, and more. We want to move forward as quickly as we can to turn this topline number into legislation, but everyone knows we need more time.

Now, while most Democrats and Republicans want to avoid a shutdown, a small group of hard right extremists seem dead set on making a shutdown a reality. With little leverage to actually enact their agenda, these extremists have tried again and again to bully the Speaker, bully their own Republican colleagues, and bully the country into accepting their hard right views.

That’s it. The only tactic the hard right had in their playbook is to bully everyone else into submission, just like Donald Trump does. And the reason is simple: most senators, most congressmen, Democrat and Republican, do not accept that their draconian cuts will be good for America. So, the only thing they can do is bully because they can’t convince. They can’t win over people by argument. So, bullying seems to be their way to go.

Even now, the hard right, amazingly, is demanding that the Speaker walk away from the agreement that the four corners made on appropriations toplines. That’s simply ridiculous, as even many Republicans recognize. And it goes to show you how unserious – how incapable – the hard right is at doing the hard work of governing.

But if the hard right’s tactics in the House have proved one thing, it’s that bullying almost never works. It ain’t working for them.

Bullying didn’t work during default, it didn’t work during previous shutdown threats, and it’s certainly not going to work now.

I hope both sides can continue working together this week to move forward with the CR quickly and prevent a government shutdown before the Friday deadline.