Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 4, 2015

Durbin: House CR Changes Will Cause Government Shutdown

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin thinks that any changes by the House to the Senate continuing resolution would make a government shutdown inevitable.

The Illinois Democrat made the comment following a media availability with other members of his party’s Senate leadership and Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., that featured a government shutdown countdown clock.

Durbin noted the typical pace of movement on the Senate floor, even for items with broad agreement, can take days to clear — meaning even innocuous changes could cause a schedule problem for the chamber.

“How long does it take to pass a motherhood resolution in the Senate when everybody is on board? Oh, probably four days,” Durbin said.

“So, if the House decides now over the weekend come Friday, Saturday, whatever it is, they’re going to give us a new bill to consider in the Senate, that is a concession on their part that we are going to shut down the government,” Durbin said. “A clean CR is the only way to meet the deadline.”

Durbin’s remarks came after House Republican leaders suggested that the CR would likely be further amended.

The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, which this year falls on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reaffirmed earlier Thursday that Democrats would be prepared to bring the chamber’s current CR debate to a close as early as possible. If all debate time is used, the stopgap measure wouldn’t pass the Senate until Saturday, assuming it overcomes all procedural hurdles.

Those hurdles include a debate-limiting vote on the House-passed CR, a potential budget point of order and a simple majority vote on a Democratic amendment to strip language that would defund Obamacare.

“We want to make it clear from the beginning we are not delaying this process. This should be done in an orderly manner, in a timely manner,” Durbin said. “Waiting till the last minute, over and over again is taking a bad reputation of Congress and making it worse.”

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