Texas Republican and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn told reporters Tuesday that negotiations over a continuing resolution and debt-ceiling increase will likely become one in the wake of the federal-government shutdown that began at midnight on Oct. 1.
“It’s looking more and more like all of this negotiation will be wrapped into one negotiation before October 17,” Cornyn said referring to the mid-October date at which the U.S. will reach its borrowing limit, forcing Congress to vote on an increased cap in order to avoid a default on government loans.
“I hope we can keep them separate, but maybe they will be balled up into one negotiation,” Cornyn said.
Every day the government shutdown continues will push the two issues closer to one increasingly complicated debate, with tensions in a bitterly divided Congress — both along party and chamber divides — moving with them.
“I think it’s now clear that the president and (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid were determined to shut down the government from the beginning no matter what,” Cornyn said, citing a myriad of Republican attempts to negotiate including a House motion to bring the two chambers to conference over a continuing resolution, and a leadership meeting hosted by the White House.
The congressional leadership meeting with the president was cancelled at Reid’s request, and he tabled the motion to conference with the House in the Senate this morning, saying there will be no conference negotiations until the House passed a six-week funding bill minus any reference to the Affordable Care Act.
“This is a very sad day for our country,” Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday according to Politico. The House has “some jerry-rigged thing about going to conference. It is embarrassing that these people are elected to represent the country are representing the tea party.”
Cornyn conceded that any attempts to defund Obamacare were not the way forward on a continuing resolution, and that it was “not the best vehicle or really the right vehicle to fight that fight.”
“If there was such an opportunity, it is now gone,” Cornyn said.
In the interim between negotiations, Cornyn — along with fellow Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee — will attempt to float a series of small, continuing resolution “rife shot” bills like the one both chambers passed to guarantee military pay on Monday to address similar agreeable bipartisan functions of government affected by the shutdown.
According to Cornyn, the rifle-shot continuing resolutions will make an effective transitional strategy until the House can pass a clean funding bill, at which point congressional Republicans will “save the rest of the fight for the debt ceiling.”
- Senate: Shutdown May Persist More Than Two Weeks, Brush Against Debt Ceiling (blogs.wsj.com)
- Cornyn, Cruz’s Texas-size divide (politico.com)
- Senate passes bill ensuring military pay if there is a government shutdown – @thehill (thehill.com)