The White House issued a harsh warning Wednesday that a government shutdown is imminent, blaming “extreme House Republicans” as legislators fail to reach an agreement on a spending package.
“While President Biden has been in New York this week showcasing America’s global leadership on the world stage, extreme House Republicans are consumed by chaos and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would damage our communities, economy, and national security,” the White House warned on Wednesday.
“Instead of following the bipartisan example of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, extreme House Republicans continue to demand a reckless laundry list of partisan proposals as a condition of keeping the government open – from an evidence-free impeachment that even some of their own members don’t agree with, to reckless cuts to programs millions of hardworking families and seniors count on, to a litany of other extraneous ideological demands.”
With government funding scheduled to expire on September 30, House Republicans, who control the chamber, are attempting to pass legislation to fund the government temporarily while also beefing up border security. However, the caucus looks to be profoundly divided on the way forward, with conservative hardliners digging in in their opposition to the plan, which is doomed in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
If lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement, active-duty military and federal law enforcement personnel will be forced to work without pay until funds are appropriated, while FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund, which the administration has already warned is dangerously low, may be depleted, complicating disaster relief efforts.
White House Warns of Shutdown Fallout: 10,000 Children to Lose Head Start, Travel Delays, and Food Safety Concerns
The White House estimates that 10,000 children would lose access to Head Start programs across the country if the Department of Health and Human Services is unable to award grants during a shutdown, while air traffic controllers and TSA officers would be forced to work without pay, causing nationwide travel delays. A shutdown would also cause the Food and Drug Administration to postpone food safety inspections.
“These consequences are real and avoidable – but only if House Republicans stop playing political games with peoples’ lives and catering to the ideological demands of their most extreme, far-right members,” the White House said. “It’s time for House Republicans to abide by the bipartisan budget agreement that a majority of them voted for, keep the government open, and address other urgent needs for the American people.”
House Republican leaders intend to vote on the government funding measure this week, despite threats from some of the conference’s more conservative members to block a procedural vote, which would prevent the bill from going to the floor.
Meanwhile, some Republicans and Democrats are considering collaborating on a so-called discharge petition to finance the government if the Republican-brokered proposal in the House fails.
In the midst of the ongoing conversations, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries will meet with the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus on Wednesday.