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McConnell: We’re not going to let government shut down

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) vowed to reporters Monday that Senate Republicans would not let the government shut down, later warning colleagues on the floor that a government shutdown would be a political loser for fellow lawmakers.

“We’re not going to allow the government to shut down,” McConnell told reporters Monday as he walked to the Senate chamber to deliver his opening comments for the week.

The veteran GOP leader doubled down on his message on the Senate floor, urging colleagues to avoid a standoff that could wind up shuttering federal departments and agencies.

“Without action by Friday, the country would face needless disruptions to agriculture, transportation, military construction, and essential services at the VA,” McConnell warned colleagues on the floor in comments that also appeared to be directed at the House.

“So I’ll say at the outset what I’ve said every time Congress has faced this threat: Shutting down the government is harmful to the country. And it never produces positive outcomes — on policy or politics,” he said.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said several “substantive” differences remain between Democratic and Republican negotiators in both chambers.

“I think we’re making real progress despite the chatter you may hear. I talked to the Speaker today and I’ve been in touch with the staff and also with my counterparts on the defense subcommittee,” she said, referring to her conversations with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and fellow members of the Appropriations panels.

She said the negotiations over some of the policy riders that House conservatives want to add to the package have been “elevated to the leadership” level.

“I’m hopeful that we can avoid a government shutdown, which would be a disaster, and actually move some bills this week. What I’m not sure of is what the exact plan is for moving the agreed upon conference reports,” she said. “And which bills are in which packages.”

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