Biden Says He Talked To McConnell, Doesn’t Expect Government Shutdown

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Joe Biden says he has spoken with Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell and does not expect the government to shutdown Friday.

Biden made the statement to reporters following a Thursday speech detailing his administration’s ongoing response to COVID-19. There has been concern over a potential shutdown since Congress punted negotiations on a budget deal back in November.

The House of Representatives came to an agreement on a budget deal Thursday morning, but some Republicans in the Senate have threatened to block the bill using procedural tactics due to Biden’s efforts to mandate vaccines. Nevertheless, Biden’s conversations with McConnell and Schumer left him confident the agreement would make it through the Senate. (RELATED: Stopgap Funding Bill Clears Congress, Avoiding Shutdown With Hours To Spare)

“Look, I don’t believe that will happen,” Biden said in response to a question on the shutdown. “We have everything in place to be able to make sure there’s not a shutdown, unless some individual … decides to be totally erratic, and I don’t think that will happen, so I don’t think there will be a shutdown.”

McConnell himself went on Fox News on Thursday morning to say a government shutdown “makes no sense for anyone.”

“I don’t think shutting down the government over this issue is going to get an outcome,” McConnell said. “It will only create chaos and uncertainty, so I don’t think that’s the best vehicle to get this job done.”

A small group of Republicans vowed to oppose any stopgap funding measure that included funding for enforcement of Biden’s recently announced COVID-19 vaccine mandate. More than a dozen Republicans signed a letter demanding the removal of funding for the mandate in early November, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

“President Biden is waging a cruel campaign to punish unvaccinated Americans—depriving them of their ability to provide for their families. This is nothing short of immoral,” the letter read.