CNBC Host Confronts Dem Rep: ‘Bipartisan Doesn’t Mean Everything Democrats Want Becomes Law’

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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CNBC’s Joe Kernen confronted Democratic New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on Friday over the looming government shutdown.

Jeffries continually used the phrase “extreme MAGA Republicans” to blame Republicans for the shutdown and border crisis before Kernen pushed back arguing that there are only a small handful of so-called “extreme MAGA” Republicans in the House.

“Yeah, Joe, there’s no point in this interview or at any other point in which I have actually commented on the number of Republicans who fall into a particular category. What I have — “

“I know, but you can’t group them all — if the Speaker did bring that up, you’re right, it would pass because there are only so many who don’t. But you want something bipartisan. There are already discussions with Senator Sinema and other senators about an amendment when it would go back to the Senate floor, not just extra funding. Funding is not helping the border,” Kernen said.

“There needs to be a policy change. That’s all Speaker McCarthy said, ‘Let’s actually do it in a bipartisan way and get some actual policy there. We’re doing plenty with Ukraine. Get some actual policy and some additional funding,’ and I’ll bet you he would eventually take his chances with keeping his speakership if he felt like there was a real border — change in policy, as well as funding that the Senate put in an amendment. I think you would get it done. But that’s bipartisan,” the host said.

“Bipartisan doesn’t mean just everything that the Democrats want becomes law. That’s not what bipartisan is.”

“Yeah, thank you for saying that, because in the Senate right now you have a bipartisan spending agreement that passed earlier this week. 77 members of the United States Senate, that means the majority of Democrats, the majority of Republicans–”

“You can get him to take that up, probably. You might be able to,” Kernen cut in.

“–That’s bipartisan. And also, I think it is important to point out that in May when we reached an agreement, part of that agreement was that when we approach the end of the fiscal year, preparing to fund the government, that there should be no policy changes one way or the other, asked for by the left or asked for by the right, which should be part of the spending discussion. That was an agreement that was reached in May,” he said.

“Again, House Republicans are changing the terms of that agreement. That doesn’t work in politics. That doesn’t work in the business world. That doesn’t work in the not-for-profit world, it doesn’t work. Your word matters. And now a government shutdown is being threatened because the House Republicans want to go in a different direction. Of course, we stand ready to find common ground with the other side of the aisle on any issue, whenever and wherever possible. But we can’t be put in the situation where extreme ransom demands are being made at the 11th hour that are inconsistent with a spending agreement that was already reached in May of this year.” (RELATED: House Freedom Caucus Throws Wrench Into Congress’ Government Spending Fight)

The Senate reached a bipartisan agreement on a continuing resolution on Tuesday in order to avoid a shutdown as funding for federal government is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. EST on Saturday.

Republicans have not reached an agreement on a continuing resolution to maintain funding until all appropriations bills are passed.