Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday endorsed the House GOP’s funding plan to prevent a government shutdown this week as a “responsible measure that will keep the lights on.”
At the same time, he stressed the need for “supplemental resources” as lawmakers press for aid to Israel and Ukraine.
“Regular order requires that Congress provide itself the time for careful consideration and thorough amendment,” McConnell said from the floor Monday. “I’m glad to see that [Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.)] has produced a continuing resolution that would do exactly that.”
“There’s a lot of work left to do. Aside from the remaining full-year appropriation bills, glaring national security priorities [that] continue to demand our attention from Israel to Ukraine, to the Indo-Pacific, and of course, our southern border,” he said, adding that the House GOP funding proposal would “provide the time and space” for Congress to finish its funding work.
Congress has until a Friday deadline to pass legislation to keep the government funded or risk a shutdown.
Over the weekend, House GOP leadership rolled out a stopgap plan, also known as a continuing resolution, that would keep the government funded through the end of the year. The proposal would extend spending for certain agencies — including the departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Food and Drug Administration — through mid-January and others through early February.
Johnson said Saturday that the goal is to prevent Congress from passing another massive omnibus funding package combining all 12 annual funding bills, as lawmakers did last year.
“The bill will stop the absurd holiday-season omnibus tradition of massive, loaded-up spending bills introduced right before the Christmas recess,” the Speaker said.
But the bill rejects the Biden administration’s request for aid for Ukraine and Israel, despite bipartisan support for the assistance. Conservatives have pressed for offsets for the funding amid a broader push to reduce overall government spending in fiscal 2024 appropriations bills.
During his floor remarks Monday, McConnell said the nation’s adversaries “are showing us by their actions that they’re heavily invested in Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
“Denying the obvious connections between the threats we face can obscure the fact that the benefits of investments in Western strength are also connected,” he said. “Expanding our defense industrial bases means making America and our allies stronger from Europe to the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific.”
“The most important thing anyone who is truly concerned about growing threats from China or Iran can do is support investments in American military capabilities in our defense industrial base,” he said, which he argued “includes both supplemental resources and full-year defense appropriations.”
“If we fail to make these steps, we will [not] just be starving our friends and allies, but our own military,” he said.