Uh Oh: Democrats Warn Of Government Shutdown

President Joe Biden will convene with the top four congressional leaders at the White House for negotiations on Tuesday, amidst warnings from the Senate’s leading Democrat of a potential partial government shutdown by the end of the week.

The crucial meeting is scheduled just three days before funding for several departments, including Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs, along with other programs, expires late Friday. Funding for the remainder of the government, encompassing the Defense, State, and Justice departments, will lapse a week later, on March 8.

“We are mere days away from a partial government shutdown on March 1,” cautioned Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in a letter to his colleagues Sunday. “Unless Republicans get serious, the extreme Republican shutdown will endanger our economy, raise costs, lower safety, and exact untold pain on the American people.”

Schumer highlighted the potential ramifications, warning that a shutdown of the Agriculture Department could imperil critical food aid programs for women and children and impede loans for farmers. Similarly, a shutdown of the Transportation Department could heighten travel risks and safety concerns by suspending air traffic controller training and halting investigations.

He noted that the initial set of federal funding bills was expected to be ready over the weekend “to give ample time for members to review the text,” attributing the missed deadline to GOP delays. “It is clear now that House Republicans need more time to sort themselves out,” Schumer asserted.

Part of the delay stems from House conservatives’ insistence that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) attach several conservative policy riders to the spending bills, despite the expectation of rejection by the Democratic-led Senate.