By Bonnie K. Goodman
Congress is back after the August recess, and the top issue on their list is avoiding another government shutdown. On Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY announced that he is looking to pass a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. The plan, however, faces opposition from fellow Republican in the House and Senate.
The majority leader told reporters he is looking to pass a continuing resolution until Dec. 9, meaning another continuing resolution or an “omnibus spending package” would have to pass before year-end or else the government would shutdown then. McConnell said, “We’re going to work toward the Dec. 9 date at last year’s levels. We’re looking for a way forward. I hope to be able to turn to it next week.” McConnell let reporters know he already started negotiations with “Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, and the Obama White House.”
McConnell will face opposition primarily from Republicans including the House Freedom Caucus and in the Senate particularly Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-TX. Republicans want the CR to last longer going into the New Year. Democrats, however, are steadfast that no CR will go into the New Year, as they are hoping Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will retain the White House
McConnell is in a tight position balancing out the demands of his party and the minority Democrats, whose opposition can lead to a government shutdown only three years after the last one. In an election year with the Senate up in the air, the Majority Leader is trying to compromise with Republicans not to be blamed again for a shutdown, which could cause them to lose their slim majority.