Durbin: We're Five Days Away From A Government Shutdown, And House Republicans Still Haven't Taken Their Responsibility to the American People Seriously

In speech on the Senate floor, Durbin slams Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans for their continued failure to reach an agreement to fund the government

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, took to the Senate floor to condemn Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans for their failure to reach an agreement to fund the government.  The House Republicans’ proposal would cut millions from public health, child care, education, food safety, law enforcement, housing, and more.  During his speech, he also urged his colleagues in the Senate to pass a bipartisan continuing resolution (CR) as soon as possible. 

“We have an impending government shutdown that's only five days away.  The House Republicans on the other side of the Rotunda have not taken on their responsibility at this moment, and we are doing our best on a bipartisan basis to do the opposite.  Extreme factions of the Republican Party continue to list their demands for reckless cuts and partisan proposals in exchange for keeping the government open.  In doing so, their radical agenda is holding the livelihood of the American people and the proper functioning of this government hostage,” said Durbin.

Shutdowns in 2013 and 2018 reduced economic output and GDP growth by projections in the billions.  They force federal employees to go without paychecks—to either work without pay or be furloughed.  Servicemembers would not be paid until Congress funds the government.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would have to delay new clinical trials during a shutdown—stalling critical medical research on diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.  A shutdown would halt training of 2,600 air traffic controllers—at a time when our country desperately needs more.  Air traffic controllers and TSA employees already on the job would have to work without pay, potentially leading to delays and longer wait times for those traveling, as we’ve seen in past shutdowns.  It could jeopardize the benefits of more than six million participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, including nearly 170,000 in Illinois.  Public housing operations and housing choice voucher subsidies could be at risk of running out of funding, and a shutdown could deplete relief funds and slow emergency response efforts in the case of natural disasters.

During his speech, Durbin praised Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) for their leadership.  The Senate Appropriations Committee moved all 12 bipartisan appropriations bills through the Committee.

Durbin continued, “Here in the Senate, we’ve taken a bipartisan approach to the task of keeping our government funded... And now, we recognize more than ever before, the need to keep the lights on in Washington.  This week is going to be our test.  What must be top of mind in any compromise is keeping federal employees paid and their families fed, keeping the economy moving forward, and keeping our affairs in order so that our adversaries know that the United States of America can actually fund its own government.  That’s why, here in the Senate, we’re going to consider a bipartisan continuing resolution to keep the government open, at current funding levels, while we work together on a longer-term answer.  Instead of considering a similar, serious short-term proposal to prevent a shutdown, some House Republicans are now trying to consider 11 individual appropriations bills before Sunday.”

“I’m not sure what [Speaker McCarthy’s] plan is, but in the Senate, ours is to prevent a government shutdown… We owe it to every household in the country to do our jobs and to do it in a timely, respectful manner.  I urge my colleagues in the House to put the needs, well-being, and livelihood of Americans above any partisan loyalty,” Durbin concluded.

 Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.