Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that the combined national security package — which includes aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and the border — will be taken up by the chamber after Thanksgiving, as senators from both parties negotiate the border policy piece.
Schumer said that he wants “very strongly, all four requests of the president be approved — Ukraine, Israel, humanitarian, and Indo-Pacific. And we’re going to work very hard to get that down,” adding that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his request to have border security added to the package is one of the holdups.
“We have Democrats and Republicans working together to try to come up with a border security package that will have bipartisan support. But we have to get this done, and as soon as we come back in Thanksgiving, it will be a very high priority, get all four of them done, all four have bipartisan support in the House. Together,” he said.
Asked about House GOP efforts to separate the package into smaller, standalone bills, Schumer replied, “We need bipartisan support for all four, and I’m going to work strenuously, very hard to get all four done.”
On the plan to avert a government shutdown: The majority leader reiterated his support for House Speaker Mike Johnson’s short-term spending bill, despite his misgivings over dividing funding into two tranches — he called the two-step idea “goofy.”
“When it comes to government funding, as I have long said, it has to be bipartisan. And right now, that’s the path we seem to be on. I’m heartened — very cautiously so — that Speaker Johnson is moving forward with a CR (continuing resolution) that precisely omits the sort of hard right cuts that would have been nonstarters for Democrats,” Schumer said.
He went on to say that he doesn’t agree with everything Johnson is proposing, and added, “I can’t imagine too many senators would have taken the speaker’s approach in drafting this bill, on either the Democratic or Republican sides here in the Senate.”
Pressed by CNN on the White House’s dismissal of the proposal on Saturday, Schumer was confident that President Joe Biden will accept the bill if it is passed by Congress. “I think that we all want to avoid a shutdown. I’ve talked to the White House, and both of us agree that if this can avoid a shutdown, it’ll be a good thing,” he said.
Schumer added that the Senate will take up the spending bill as soon as possible. “When it comes here, if the House should pass it and I hope they do, Leader McConnell and I will figure out the best way to get this done quickly. Neither McConnell nor I want a shutdown,” he said, noting that they discussed this yesterday.
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