WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Tuesday that shutdowns are a political liability for his party as Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to keep the government open.
At his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon, McConnell, R-Ky., made it very clear that he’s “not a fan of government shutdowns.”
“I’ve seen a few of them over the years. They never have produced a policy change and they’ve always been a loser for Republicans politically,” he said.
McConnell’s comments come as Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans are scrambling to pass a short-term funding bill that would keep the government running through Oct. 31 amid opposition from hard-line conservatives. But even if that funding measure manages to clear the House, it’s laden with conservative policy provisions that make it dead on arrival in the Senate.
With less than two weeks left to act, a shutdown at the end of the month appears increasingly likely.
Asked about the House’s bill to keep the government funded for another month, McConnell said he supports “what the Speaker is trying to accomplish because he’s trying to avoid a government shutdown.”
“So we’re pulling for the Speaker and hoping we can move forward,” he added.
McConnell declined to make predictions about what the House would do.
“What I do think is critically important to the American people is for the government not to shut down. … But I can’t predict exactly how this ends. We’ll see what the House does and act accordingly,” he said.