Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned Wednesday that Congress is in a “dangerous situation” without an elected Speaker in place in the House and government funding due to expire next month.
Schumer warned that Congress won’t be able to pass any appropriations bills while the future leadership of the House remains unresolved, heightening the chance of a government shutdown.
“We find ourselves in a dangerous situation; with about 40 days to go before the government shuts down, the House has ground completely to a halt,” he said on the Senate floor. “Until Republicans stop their infighting, the House can vote on no bills. No appropriations work can get done.”
Schumer also warned that the paralysis in Congress may put national security at risk if disaster strikes.
“If, God forbid, some national crisis were to occur that demands immediate action, the House would be unable to quickly respond,” he said.
Schumer said “a small band of MAGA extremists plunged Congress into pandemonium” Tuesday by removing a Speaker for the first time in history. Eight Republicans voted with Democrats for a motion to vacate the position that Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had held since January.
Schumer said McCarthy laid the groundwork for his own downfall by trying to cater to a small band of far-right House conservatives over the past nine months.
“What happened yesterday is a failure entirely of the House Republicans’ own doing. A disaster in the making,” he said.
The Democratic leader urged the next Speaker not to let House conservatives dictate the terms of their leadership and instead reach out to Democrats to get bills through the lower chamber.
“Whoever the House elects as Speaker will not be able to ignore the realities of divided government, no matter what the hard right demands. The need for bipartisanship will not change. We’ll need bipartisanship to keep the government open,” he said.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) will serve as temporary acting Speaker until the House elects a longer-term replacement for McCarthy.
Government funding is due to expire Nov. 17.