With a federal government shutdown looming on Friday, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s confident both chambers of Congress will agree on a continuing resolution to extend spending for a week.
Grassley, a Republican, predicts the larger plan that will pass on December 18th will include the long-awaited relief package for individuals, businesses, and state and local governments impacted by COVID-19.
“There’s so much bipartisan agreement on so many parts that are needed,” Grassley says. “If we can forget some things that don’t have bipartisan support, we’ll take care of a lot of the need that’s out there.” Grassley accuses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of being very uncooperative over the past several months by making no concessions on a pandemic relief package — and he blames her for the lengthy delay.
“This is a very much nicer environment to be in than from August through the election, when Pelosi was refusing to negotiate,” Grassley says, “and she more or less admitted that she did it to help Biden and Democrats in the election.” If there’s not agreement by Friday, tens of thousands of federal employees who are deemed “nonessential” will be furloughed — or they’ll be forced to work without pay until the impasse ends.
Grassley doesn’t think it’ll come to that and he expects a compromise on COVID relief soon with Democrats Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.
“The good news is that Pelosi and Schumer have moved off of their all-or-nothing position and seem to be negotiating,” Grassley says. “That’s the first good news we’ve had in four or five months on this subject.”
The last time the federal government shutdown was the longest shutdown in U.S. history. It ran 35 days between late December of 2018 through late January of 2019.