Labor chief predicts no shutdown

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka predicts Republicans won’t force a government shutdown in the fall’s federal spending battles because, if nothing else, it would harm their political donors. 

ADVERTISEMENT
“There is no crisis here, and I don’t think the Republicans are going to shut down the government,” the labor leader said on the Bloomberg program “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend.

“They can’t afford to,” he continued. “Some of their best political people, their best donors are going to get hurt in the process. It hurts the economy. And I don’t think they’re going to do it.”

The current federal spending bill expires Sept. 30, giving lawmakers a short window to agree on a spending plan or extend current funding when they return from the summer recess.

Some House and Senate Republicans have said they will push to defund ObamaCare as part of the continuing spending resolution for 2014. But many GOP lawmakers fear the party will be hurt if the strategy ends in a government shutdown.

Trumka is similarly optimistic that a deal to raise the debt ceiling will be struck.

“I’m not saying [Republicans] won’t play games. I’m just saying they’re not going to shut down the government over either one of those,” he said, referring to the federal spending bill and the debt ceiling. “They’ll talk through things, and [House Speaker John] Boehner’s already offered a short-term extension, and we’ll see what happens.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Trumka voiced support for Janet Yellen over Lawrence Summers as the president's pick for the next head of the Federal Reserve, reiterating a view offered in a briefing with reporters several days ago.