© 2023 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As a government shutdown looms, Blumenthal calls on House to "do its job"

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
Molly Ingram
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal

The federal government will run out of money by the end of the day on Friday if no new deal is reached.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) says that must be avoided at all costs.

“We need to fund the government by this Friday or our military won't be paid, Social Security recipients won't get their checks, other essential services will be shut down, unless the government this week does its job,” Blumenthal said. "I say to my colleagues in the House, ’do your job.’”

He wants to pass a package that combines funding for U.S. border security, and military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and Israel, as well as food, water and fuel for Gaza. But that kind of bill is unlikely to pass in the House, where some Republicans have said they will not support aid for Ukraine at all.

Blumenthal said that’s unacceptable.

“I am very hopeful we will pass a package with combined funding for Ukraine, Israel, the Indo Pacific and border security,” Blumenthal said. “Putting Ukraine and Israel together is essential for our national security. Both are fighting tyrants and terrorists."

"Both are desperately in need of the $105 billion package that the president has proposed; $60 billion of it going to Ukraine, $14 billion to Israel, and also nearly $10 billion in humanitarian aid for Gaza and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for Ukraine,” he added.

Republicans have a slim majority in the House. That means they must either come up with a bill that the whole party supports, or get help from House Democrats — but that’s how former Speaker Kevin McCarthy lost his job in October.

According to Blumenthal, the Senate will not have that problem.

“We will move forward in the Senate on a bipartisan basis to fund the government,” Blumenthal said.

Once the bills pass with majority support in each chamber, they are merged, approved by a majority of both chambers, and sent to the president for approval.

The House is expected to vote on a proposed funding bill on Tuesday.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.