Schumer: MAGA hard right 'wants a shutdown'

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) ahead of a White House meeting Tuesday called on Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to “reject the MAGA hard right, which wants a shutdown.”

Schumer is ramping up his rhetoric ahead of a Tuesday midday meeting at the White House with Johnson, President Biden, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

The nation faces a partial shutdown this weekend, with the Department of Energy and other agencies closing, unless Congress takes quick action.

“Agriculture, transportation, veterans’ programs and more will be thrown into chaos this Friday if we fail to extend funding,” Schumer warned on the Senate floor. “As I’ve said throughout the 118th Congress, there is no justification — none — for provoking a government shutdown.”

He said Democrats “strongly oppose shutdowns” and many of his Senate Republican colleagues, including McConnell, feel the same way, but he argued Johnson is under pressure from House conservatives to take a hard line in negotiations over any bills to fund the government past the end of this week.

“Look, we realize the Speaker of the House is in a difficult position, but he must reject the MAGA hard right, which wants a shutdown,” Schumer said, asserting that view “does not represent a majority of Republicans in the House.”

Schumer said a small group of House conservatives who have demanded more than 20 controversial policy riders be added to government funding legislation “are trying to bully everyone else into submission to get what they want.”

“And what they want, make no mistake about it, they say it openly, is a government shutdown,” he claimed.

He said “the chaos we’ve seen over and over again in the House,” referring to the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and multiple failed bills, “just goes to show that the hard right is not serious about governing.”

Funding for military construction and the departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development will expire after March 1. Funding for other federal departments and agencies, including the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services will expire after March 8.

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