GOP senator backs down from shutdown threat

Greg Nash

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said on Friday that he will let a stopgap government funding bill clear the Senate after getting reassurances from Senate leadership about a year-end deal to provide coronavirus relief.

“I have been assured by Senate GOP leadership that #COVID direct assistance to working people IS in the #covid relief bill under negotiation & will remain. And on that basis, I will consent to a brief continuing resolution to allow negotiations to conclude,” Hawley tweeted Friday.

Hawley’s tweet comes hours after he warned that he would not let Senate leadership speed up consideration of a days-long continuing resolution (CR) that is needed to prevent a government shutdown starting on Saturday without details on what was in a yet-to-be-reached coronavirus agreement.

Because the COVID-19 relief negotiations are tied to a $1.4 trillion package to fund the government, Congress needs to either pass the deal or a stopgap bill on Friday night in order to prevent a shutdown.

“I’d like to see some indication of what we’re moving toward. … So I’m not going to allow a CR to go through until I know what’s actually in the package,” Hawley said earlier Friday.

When a reporter noted that he sounded frustrated, Hawley said the situation was “beginning to reach the point of absurdity” and that it was “time for leadership to put on the table what they’ve got.”

The House appears poised to pass a two-day continuing resolution which would fund the government through Sunday in an effort to buy negotiators more time.

Senate GOP leadership is currently trying to get consent to pass the same bill by the end of Friday, avoiding a shutdown.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) warned that a shutdown “would be a likely conclusion” if there’s not consent from every senator to pass the stopgap bill to keep the government open.

“That in and of itself could prove to be a pretty heavy lift,” he said of being able to pass a CR by the deadline. 

Tags Budget Coronavirus COVID-19 John Thune Josh Hawley Shutdown

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