McConnell's vow: No more government shutdowns

McConnell's vow: No more government shutdowns
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) says he will not allow a government shutdown this fall and has pledged to begin talks “at some point.”

McConnell on Tuesday said he is willing to negotiate with Democrats to solve the funding impasse, after refusing for weeks to participate in the budget summit they have been calling for.

“Let me say it again, no more government shutdowns,” he told reporters.

He added that he would find a way forward “through negotiations.”

“We have divided government. The different parties control the Congress, control the White House, and at some point we’ll negotiate the way forward,” he said.

The government's budget authority expires at the end of September, and Democrats are warning of a shutdown because the Senate has failed to pass any appropriations bills as lawmakers disputed levels for defense and nondefense programs.

“We should have rolled up our sleeves weeks ago and started this conversation between the House, the Senate and the White House to come up with a budget for America that is fair,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).

New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the third-ranking member of the chamber's Democratic leadership, warned Republicans would risk a shutdown by trying to add controversial policy provisions, such as a proposal to defund Planned Parenthood, to a year-end spending bill.

“If they try to add extraneous riders and say, 'You have to keep those riders,' important riders where there’s great disagreements in the country ... they’re headed for a government shutdown,” he said.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said there has been little sign as of yet that Republicans are ready to hash out a compromise.

“I checked with the White House today, not a word,” he said. “I don’t understand when this negotiation is going to start. We’re ready.”