Schumer pushes to get spending bill ‘back on track’ despite conservative blockade

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed to get negotiations to pass three appropriations bills “back on track” in the coming days after a conservative senator derailed the effort late last week and sent the situation into a tailspin. 

Schumer declined to lay out any concrete steps for how he plans to proceed in the coming days. However, he indicated that he will know more in the near future as the chamber pushes to pass the three appropriations bills — known as a “minibus.” 

“I urge my Republican colleagues to resist and reject these hard-line attempts to derail the Senate’s work. A great majority of senators from both parties want to see us move forward,” Schumer said on the floor. “In the coming days, I’ll work with my colleagues on getting the appropriations process back on track so we can finish processing these appropriations bills and get us one step closer to funding the government.”

The New York Democrat was referring to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who on Thursday held up further votes and the amendment process on the minibus, calling for all three bills to be passed individually and for senators to follow the lead of the House. 

Johnson, according to Schumer, is “mimicking” tactics used by the House Freedom Caucus. 

“In both chambers, a small band of hard-right Republicans are dead-set on grinding down the gears of government,” Schumer said. “It’s a scary pattern we’re seeing emerge with some on the hard right.” 

The comments came with only 12 days left until government funding expires and lawmakers attempt to figure out a stopgap spending bill to give them more time to figure out a deal to fund the government for the next fiscal year.

It’s unclear how Schumer will proceed, as both sides get set to discuss strategy at their weekly caucus lunches Tuesday.

Schumer could attempt to cobble together 67 votes and suspend the rules to override Johnson’s maneuver, but that is an extremely high bar that would require a lot of GOP cooperation. 

Tags appropriations Charles Schumer Chuck Schumer Ron Johnson Ron Johnson Shutdow