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Schumer challenges Johnson to ‘step up’ ahead of Friday shutdown cliff

“While we had hoped to have legislation ready this weekend that would give ample time for members to review the text, it is clear now that House Republicans need more time to sort themselves out,” he said. “With the uncertainty of how the House will pass the appropriations bills and avoid a shutdown this week, I ask all Senators to keep their schedules flexible, so we can work to ensure a pointless and harmful lapse in funding doesn’t occur.”

Key context: Appropriations staff has been working around the clock in the hopes of clinching a deal on some or all of the first four bills set to expire, including the Agriculture-FDA, Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD measures.

Speaker Mike Johnson is facing tremendous pressure from his right flank to secure policy wins across the bills on topics ranging from abortion to guns.
During a conference call with Republicans on Friday night
, he said he couldn’t rule out the possibility of a partial government shutdown at week’s end.

Negotiators in recent days have sparred over cuts to agriculture programs and limits on how USDA spends money, for example. Both sides have also warred over a policy rider that would ban mail delivery of abortion pills, a heated impasse over nutrition funding for low-income mothers and babies, as well as
a pilot program proposed
by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) that would restrict SNAP food aid purchases.

The timeline for any legislative action is exceedingly tight. The House, which has been expected to move first on any bills, won’t be in session until Wednesday. The Senate, set to deal with impeachment articles against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, returns from recess on Monday.

Ukraine aid: On the heels of his trip with several other Senate Democrats to Ukraine, Schumer challenged Johnson to visit the country “and witness what we witnessed, because I believe it is virtually impossible for anyone with decency and goodwill to turn their back on Ukraine if they saw the horrors of that war with their own eyes.”

The Senate’s national security supplemental, which would deliver tens of billions of dollars in emergency aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, now sits at Johnson’s feet, Schumer wrote.

“If Speaker Johnson put the national security supplemental on the floor today, it would pass with a large number of both Democrats and Republicans,” the New York Democrat wrote. “Now is the time for action. Speaker Johnson cannot let politics or blind obeisance to Donald Trump get in the way.”

Meredith Lee Hill contributed to this report.

Read More: Schumer challenges Johnson to ‘step up’ ahead of Friday shutdown cliff

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