GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In Washington, as Congress continues to try to find a way to fund the government past midnight Saturday, local lawmakers are talking about the process.
Republicans and Democrats see the looming government shutdown and ways to avoid it very differently. U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, sees progress due to some bills passed last night and thinks Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is trying to please all his members to get a budget passed.
“Well, right now we can only lose three votes on a particular vote for Republicans so that does make it challenging in getting everybody working together as a team. I think he’s doing a very good job listening to concerns (and) trying to address the concerns of the American people. Now there are some that have different priorities, different agendas (and) even different districts that have different needs. So it is a complicated thing but when I look at what we did last night, passing three major appropriations bills that really met the needs kind of across the board, to me that’s progress. Now we are facing a deadline and things are getting more intense,” he said.
Unlike Moolenaar, U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten, D-Grand Rapids, says McCarthy is not sticking to an agreement made during the negotiations to keep the country from going into default — the problem in the first place.
“It’s frustrating because we are just hours, at this point, away from a government shutdown, and here’s one thing that I think is really getting lost in some of the talking points about this which is we had a deal. We had a deal when we were approaching the fiscal cliff back in May, Speaker McCarthy made a deal directly with President Biden that we would continue to fund the government at 2023 levels, no more no less, to avoid a government shutdown and that budget proposal will not have radical policy riders attached to them. Speaker McCarthy is going back on his word and putting us on this brinksmanship again which is completely unnecessary,” she said.
The only thing they agreed on was that a shutdown was imminent and that that were only a few hours to avert it. Right now, in Washington, there does not seem to be a lot of optimism that will happen.