Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer Senate Democrats to vote this week to overturn Trump ObamaCare moves Man explains refusing to shake McConnell’s hand at Cummings memorial: ‘I couldn’t do it’ MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday he was growing more worried that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNumber of uninsured children rises for second year, tops 4 million Trump moment from White House Halloween trick-or-treat event goes viral White House official says transcript of Ukraine call omitted key phrases: report MORE could force a government shutdown as soon as next month over the impeachment fight.
“I’m increasingly worried that President Trump may want to shut down the government again because of impeachment, an impeachment inquiry. He always likes to create diversions,” Schumer told reporters during a weekly press conference.
“I hope and pray he won’t want to cause another government shutdown because it might be a diversion away from impeachment. It’s very worrisome to me,” he added.
Schumer’s comments came as Trump on Tuesday lashed out at the impeachment inquiry ahead of key testimony from a White House official. Democrats in the House also unveiled a resolution Tuesday afternoon outlining the next phase of the inquiry.
The government is currently funded through Nov. 21, giving lawmakers and the White House weeks to agree on a plan to avoid a shutdown next month.
Congress needs to pass 12 appropriations bills, either individually or as a package, before the November deadline or agree to another short-term continuing resolution in order to avoid a shutdown.
So far, the House and Senate have reached an agreement on none of the 12 bills.
The House has passed 10 appropriations bills so far this year. The Senate is expected to pass a package of four spending bills this week, but Democrats are expected to block a separate mammoth defense spending bill on Wednesday.
Republicans have so far insisted they will not let the government shut down next month, with several predicting another stopgap bill that could last at least until December and potentially into early next year.
But looming over the talks is the impeachment inquiry. The House is investigating Trump calling for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWhite House official says transcript of Ukraine call omitted key phrases: report Biden uses National Cat Day to fundraise for putting a ‘pet back in White House’ Sondland emerges as key target after Vindman testimony MORE and his son Hunter Biden and whether the president tied aid to the country opening a probe.
Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, demurred when pressed by reporters on Tuesday about whether he would guarantee there would not be a shutdown.
“In terms of a shutdown, obviously there are many weeks between now and Nov. 21, so we’ll take it each day as it comes,” he said.
Pressed on whether the impeachment fight made it harder to fund the government, he added. “I’m hopeful that it doesn’t. I’m hopeful that Congress doesn’t get distracted from some of these core priorities that the president’s laid out and that people are interested in making progress on. But that’s really going to be up to Congress.”
If the government shuts down, it would be the second funding lapse of the year after a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended in February.
Schumer added on Tuesday that if lawmakers were “left to our own devices,” he thought Congress “could work out an agreement to quickly fund the government.”
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