Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R.-Tenn., blamed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for “pushing a government shutdown” as a gateway to “help him politically” on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“The one person who is really pushing for a government shutdown is Chuck Schumer, and this is something he thinks would help him politically as he tries to hang on to the U.S. Senate,” Blackburn said Sunday.
Blackburn said it would be “very difficult” and “probably impossible” for Schumer to hold the Democrat majority in 2024.
Senate Democrats currently hold a narrow two-seat majority and will have to defend 23 seats — with several in red states — in next year’s election. Republicans, on the other hand, will be defending 10 seats in the upper chamber.
The Tennessee senator’s comments come just as the Senate returns from its August recess Tuesday with a long list of items to get across the finish line — including 12 appropriations bills — before a potential government shutdown on Sept. 30, which marks the end of the fiscal year.
“But what we do know is this, Senate Republicans, House Republicans are pushing forward to get the spending bills across the finish line, because this is how we take the power away from the White House,” she said.
Meanwhile, Schumer said in a “Dear Colleague” letter Friday, the government “cannot afford the brinkmanship or hostage-taking we saw from House Republicans earlier this year when they pushed our country to the brink of default to appease the most extreme members of their party.”
“The only way to avoid a shutdown is through bipartisanship, so I have urged House Republican leadership to follow the Senate’s lead and pass bipartisan appropriations bills,” he wrote.
When Congress left the Hill at the end of July, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed 12 separate spending bills that would fund most government operations in 2024 with bipartisan support. However, their lower chamber Republican counterparts in the House Appropriations Committee leveraged mostly partisan bills.
While the Senate is committed to its agreed upon $1.59 trillion spending budget with President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, hard-line conservatives in the Freedom Caucus “remain committed to restoring the true FY 2022 topline spending level of $1.471 trillion without the use of gimmicks or reallocated rescissions to return the bureaucracy to its pre-COVID size while allowing for adequate defense funding,” according to an Aug. 21 news release.
Both chambers must also agree on a comprehensive defense package, the National Defense Authorization Act and work through Biden’s $40 billion supplemental aid request to Ukraine.
Schumer’s office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment by time of publication.