Top GOP senator warns of potential for brief shutdown

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) warned on Thursday that the government could briefly shut down over the weekend as talks over a sweeping deal to pass funding and provide coronavirus relief drag on.

Asked about needing a days-long continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded past Friday, Thune indicated senators could block a CR if leaders don’t have a larger deal in hand.

“I mean I’ve already — I know people who are gonna object to that, that want to keep pressure on the process until we get a deal,” he said.

“So, it would take consent obviously to do a short term CR,” Thune added.

Congress has until the end of Friday to either pass the deal on an omnibus and coronavirus aid — an unlikely long shot, lawmakers acknowledge, because it’s still being negotiated. If they don’t, they’ll need to buy themselves some more time by passing a CR to prevent the government from briefly shutting down a week before Christmas.