By Patsy Brumfield and Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal
With the budget bill in the Senate’s lap, Mississippi’s two Republicans said Thursday they’ll continue working to avert a crisis.
Sen. Thad Cochran of Oxford, ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, which is deeply involved in the process, said in a statement that he doesn’t expect the president and Congress will permit a shutdown.
“We have seen conflicts like this before between a president and the Congress,” Cochran noted, “and they generally get resolved in due course without serious damage or hardship. This, too, will pass.”
But Sen. Roger Wicker of Tupelo blamed the Democrats for blocking efforts “to offer any alternative.”
“I will continue working to keep the federal government funded while reducing spending,” Wicker said.
In the House, Rep. Alan Nunnelee said he’s not sure what’s going to happen with a possible federal government shutdown.
“I’m frustrated with the Democratic leadership in the Senate,” the Tupelo Republican said via telephone to the Daily Journal mid-afternoon Thursday.
He’d just come off the U.S. House floor, where he’d spoken in support of a successful bill to extend government operations another week and pay the military.
It contains $12 billion more in spending cuts than Senate Democrats said earlier they hadn’t agreed to.
Nunnelee said the bill also cuts off money for abortions in the District of Columbia, bans prisoner transfer from Guantanamo to the U.S. and protects funding to Israel.
That bill goes to the Senate, and Nunnelee declined to predict its outcome there.
“We are in this unfortunate situation because the Democrat leadership failed to adopt a budget when they were in charge,” Nunnelee said. “By their inaction, the Democrat leadership is moving us closer to a government shutdown.”
Nunnelee said he canceled plans to leave Washington on Thursday and will remain today to be available to react to whatever happens.