WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is open to the consideration of legislation that would bar government shutdowns.
“I’d be be open to anything that we could agree on a bipartisan basis that would make them pretty hard to occur again,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said at a news conference on Tuesday.
He added: “There’s some differences about how to craft that. But I’m certainly open to it. I think this is an example of government dysfunction which should be embarrassing to everyone on a bipartisan basis.”
A 35-day-long partial government shutdown ended Friday evening after President Donald Trump signed a spending bill that funds outstanding executive departments at existing levels through Feb. 15.
Approval of the legislation was accompanied by an agreement to form a joint House-Senate conference committee to study Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The committee is scheduled to have its first meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Trump has said that if lawmakers do not come up with a more comprehensive border security agreement in the next three weeks, another shutdown is possible. Trump also has said he has not ruled out declaring a national emergency in order to get the wall built.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the five-week impasse delayed $18 billion in discretionary spending and lowered the projected level of real gross domestic product by $8 billion (0.2 percent) in the first quarter.