A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mitch McConnell: Government shutdowns are bad news, creating unnecessary hardships for millions

Senator Mitch McConnell delivered these remarks on the Senate floor:

At midnight on Sunday, current appropriations will run out and the federal government will shut down.

Over the years, I’ve been pretty clear in my view that government shutdowns are bad news whichever way you look at them.

They don’t work as political bargaining chips.

Sen. McConnell (file photo)

They create unnecessary hardships for millions of Americans. For example, nearly 46,000 servicemembers and 22,000 civilian workers in my home state of Kentucky who earn federal government paychecks.

And they hardly ever produce meaningful policy outcomes at the end of the day.

A government shutdown would be an unnecessary disruption of the important work on the Senate’s agenda. So I would urge each of my colleagues to work this week to avoid one.

For the past several months, Senator Collins, Senator Murray, and our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee have worked diligently to help the Senate fulfill our commitment to funding the government through regular order. As that important work continues, colleagues in both chambers are rightly concerned about a number of distinct priorities:

They’re focused on taking further action to rein in reckless spending as we continue to rebuild our national defense. They’re concerned about addressing the consequences of the Biden Administration’s failure to secure our southern border.

They’re eager to provide relief to communities recovering from natural disasters, from Hawaii to Florida. And bipartisan majorities recognize the ongoing need to counter Russia and China and continue to provide lethal aid to Ukraine.

In the coming weeks, I hope the Administration will work with Congress to address these pressing needs.

But in order for work on appropriations to continue uninterrupted, Congress needs to extend government funding by the end of the week.

The sooner Congress keeps the lights on, the sooner these important conversations can resume.

The clearest path forward is a standard, short-term continuing resolution. Our work this week needs to produce the resources and flexibility to maintain essential government functions at their current rates of operation while progress on full-year appropriations continues.

Just to reiterate, Mr. President – delaying action on short-term government funding doesn’t advance the ball on any meaningful policy priorities. Shutting the government down over a domestic budget dispute doesn’t strengthen anyone’s political position.

It just puts important progress on ice. And it leaves millions of Americans on edge.

So I expect that the Appropriations Committee will finalize a short-term funding extension in the very near future for the Senate to review. And I would encourage each of our colleagues to join me in supporting a standard, responsible step forward.”

Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

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