Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen went after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Tuesday over House Republicans delaying passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government until both parties can agree on 2024 spending bills.
“There’s absolutely no reason why we should have a government shutdown,” Yellen said in an MSNBC interview. “Democrats in both the House and the Senate and Republicans in the Senate are ready to pass appropriations bills or a continuing resolution to keep the government open and operating for the American people.”
The government is set to run out of funding at the end of the month unless Congress can pass temporary funding measures.
“Speaker McCarthy needs to find a way to do his job, which is to pass a continuing resolution,” Yellen said.
House Republicans pulled a key vote on an attempt on a continuing resolution Tuesday — after Yellen’s remarks — with McCarthy struggling to pull his fractured caucus together. Even if the House does pass the stopgap measure, it is likely to fail in the Senate — meaning another House vote would eventually be required on a compromise bill.
The secretary, who rarely speaks in overtly political terms, pinned the blame for a potential shutdown squarely on McCarthy, calling on him to stick by a bipartisan agreement made earlier this year over the debt ceiling. That agreement stipulated limited cuts for the federal budget, but some House Republicans now want to go further.
The push for deeper cuts is led by the right-wing of the GOP caucus, which came out against the proposed continuing resolution. The opposition has raised speculation that there could be an attempt to oust McCarthy as Speaker soon.
Yellen refused to speculate on what impacts a shutdown could have on the economy, but she said that it would be an overall negative.
“We have a good, strong economy; it has a lot of momentum. Inflation is coming down; the labor market remains very strong. We really don’t need a shock to the economy in the form of a slowdown,” she said. “There’s no reason for it at all.”
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