Schumer puts pressure on lawmakers as shutdown deadline nears

Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) addresses reporters after the weekly policy luncheon on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is applying pressure to lawmakers to make headway on annual government spending legislation, with just weeks to go before current funding is set to lapse.

Schumer said in floor remarks on Monday that he plans to sit down with Democratic lawmakers later this week “to discuss the state of negotiations” to pass an omnibus package to fund the government within the next few weeks.

Lawmakers have until Feb. 18 to strike an agreement on spending for fiscal year 2022, which began in October under a temporary continuing resolution passed last month that allows the government to remain funded under the previous year’s spending levels.

So far, the Democratic-led House has passed nine out of 12 appropriations bills to fund the government. However, in the Senate, where Democrats would need to win at least 10 votes from Republicans to pass such legislation in order to get past a filibuster, none of the bills have yet to make it out of the upper chamber. 

The stalled progress comes as leaders on both sides the aisle have struggled for months to come to a bipartisan agreement on a top-line spending number, as well as areas like defense spending and legislative riders such as the Hyde amendment.

To prevent a shutdown next month, lawmakers have the option of passing another continuing resolution on or before the mid-February deadline if they aren’t able to pass an omnibus.

But leaders are ramping up pressure for a larger bipartisan spending deal for fiscal 2022. Some have expressed concerns about the chances for any appropriations bills to pass Congress this year if negotiations drag out much longer.

In his floor remarks on Monday, Schumer said lawmakers will “work day and night to bring a funding package together, avoid a shutdown, and make sure Congress fulfills this basic duty to the American people.”

If Congress fails to pass a spending deal for fiscal 2022 and instead opts for a continuing resolution, it will mark the third such time the body has had to resort to such measures since spending negotiations for the fiscal year began last year.

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