Biden says he doesn't believe a government shutdown will happen

President BidenJoe BidenBiden says he didn't 'overpromise' Finland PM pledges 'extremely tough' sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine Russia: Nothing less than NATO expansion ban is acceptable MORE on Thursday said he doesn’t think a government shutdown will happen amid objections from Capitol Hill conservatives on a deal to fund the government.

“Look, I don't believe that will happen. We have everything in place to be able to make sure there is not a shutdown,” Biden told reporters, adding that he spoke with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown Mellman: Voting rights or the filibuster?  Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown DACA highlights pitfalls of legalization schemes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Schumer tees up doomed election reform vote MORE (D-N.Y.).

“There is a plan in place unless somebody decides to be totally erratic, and I don't think that will happen. So I don't think there will be a shutdown,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

He responded “no” when asked if there would be a government shutdown on Friday and responded, “How could you ask such a silly question?” when asked how he will prevent it from happening.

The comment from the president came after he spoke to press at the National Institutes of Health on the administration’s plan to fight COVID-19 and the newly emerged omicron variant of the disease during the winter months. 

Congress has until the end of Friday to pass a funding bill to keep the government open through Feb. 18 and prevent a shutdown, but any one senator can force the chamber to miss that deadline. 

A group of conservatives in the Senate on Thursday are holding up a stopgap funding measure, demanding a simple-majority vote to defund Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

However, McConnell earlier on Thursday predicted there would not be a government shutdown, adding that he didn’t think that “shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome,” referring to some of this colleagues' push to defund Biden's vaccine mandate.

Schumer hit Republicans Thursday, warning that Congress is facing a “Republican anti-vaccine shutdown." The majority leader had also announced he had reached an agreement with McConnell and others on a short-term funding measure.