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Warner, Kaine push ideas for preventing looming federal government shutdown

Chris Graham
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The Republican-majority U.S. House went ahead with a planned vacation with a federal government shutdown looming.

The two local Republicans in Congress, Ben Cline and Bob Good, have had literally nothing to say about the inability of the GOP to figure out what it wants to do, choosing to instead put their attention on things like border patrol, showing their tone deafness there – the latest House Republican budget proposes an 8 percent cut for federal border patrol operations.

Cline also took to Twitter to wax poetic about the natural beauty of the Sixth District that he represents, and to encourage people to visit the national parks in the district as summer turns to fall, and leaf-peeping season is set to begin.

Left unsaid there: if the government shuts down because Republicans can’t agree with themselves on a budget, the national parks will have to close down, making it harder to be able to leaf-peep.

While the dunderheads in the House Republican conference head back home to confab with big-money donors, the adults in the room are left to try to keep things moving forward.

“Normally this breaks down on partisan lines. But in this case, we have the president, the Senate Republicans, the Senate Democrats, the House Democrats, and I think if there was ever a vote, probably the majority of the House Republicans, who don’t want the government to shut down, but this extreme group of MAGA crowd, it’s kind of like, they act like there’ll be no effect on our economy,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told reporters on a conference call on Thursday.

Warner thinks there is broad bipartisan agreement for a continuing resolution that can kick the shutdown can down the road to the winter holiday season, but that would require the House Republican conference, which Warner called a “circular firing squad,” to play ball.

Warner’s U.S. Senate colleague, Tim Kaine, D-Va., told reporters on Thursday that he thinks it is possible that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could actually get a full budget bill through the lower legislative chamber before the Oct. 1 deadline.

“Once the speaker sees that his own caucus is sinking the defense bill twice, it should convince him that the way to get this done is to put together a bill that many or most Republicans will support, but that can get Democratic support as well,” said Kaine, noting that whatever budget bill the House passes would need to get 60 votes in the Senate, meaning “it has to be bipartisan.”

“The speaker should say, look, I’ve been trying to do it with Republican votes, that’s not going to happen, so let’s do it bipartisan. That would not only be something that would increase the likelihood of success, it would also show the American public that both houses can work in a bipartisan fashion something so important as the budget,” Kaine said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].