Sen. Mitt Romney says his priority is to ‘keep government open’ as shutdown looks more likely
Talks continue as many in Congress try to avoid a government shutdown, but a House vote Friday made that less likely
As Congress careens toward Saturday’s shutdown deadline, Sen. Mitt Romney said he continues to try to find a way to keep the lights on.
“My priority is to keep the government open, and I am doing everything I can to do that. In the event of a government shutdown, our offices will continue working on behalf of Utahns,” he said in a statement to the Deseret News.
Romney acknowledged his concern about the deficit and debt, which have reached unprecedented levels, but said he doesn’t think a shutdown will help.
“Our country’s spending and national debt have gotten out of control and must be reined in; but history has shown that government shutdowns do nothing to help achieve meaningful reform,” he said. “A government shutdown would have real consequences for Utahns, who could be left wondering how they are going to put food on the table or pay their rent.”
But after House Republicans voted down a continuing resolution midday on Friday that contained many of the priorities demanded by conservative holdouts, a shutdown looked much more likely.
The House passed three appropriations bills Thursday night, which would cover spending for defense, homeland security and the State Department. But the Senate would need to also pass appropriations bills for those areas, and then the bills from the two chambers would need to be reconciled in order to continue funding just for those parts of the federal government — a near impossibility before the fiscal year ends on Saturday.
Congress must pass 12 annual spending bills each year to fully fund government. The House passed the military construction and veteran affairs appropriations bill in July, so they’ve now passed four of the 12. The Senate has not passed any of the annual spending bills.
At a lunch for Republican senators this week, Romney asked his colleagues if they’d be willing to support a “clean” continuing resolution, and a majority put their hands up, according to reporting from Politico.
But in the House, some members of the Freedom Caucus have opposed passing any continuing resolution, because they say they want to return to “regular order” — or passing appropriations bills one by one, which is how government spending used to proceed in the 1990s and earlier.