Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that government shutdowns have “always been a loser” for Republicans as yet another political scuffle drags on over funding the federal government.
Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the government open. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has struggled to unite members of his party amid opposition from the far-right faction of the caucus. Republican leaders had hoped to come to some sort of deal with a stopgap bill on Sunday that would have slashed funding for many federal agencies, but even that plan fell apart this week.
McConnell said senators were waiting to see what the House was going to do moving forward but quickly voiced his opposition to a shutdown.
“I think all of you know I’m not a fan of government shutdowns. I’ve seen a few of them over the years,” the Republican leader said at his weekly news conference with reporters. “They never have produced a policy change, and they’ve always been a loser for Republicans politically.”
McConnell said he supported what McCarthy “is trying to accomplish because he’s trying to avoid a government shutdown.”
“We’re pulling for the speaker and hoping we can move forward,” McConnell added.
McCarthy suffered another setback Tuesday after five Republicans joined all Democrats to sink an annual funding bill for the Pentagon. The bill is usually the easiest for the GOP to pass as it funds national defense, but it became ensnared in the protracted fight over spending.