"There's not going to be a government shutdown. It's just not going to happen," McConnell said.
Democrats say they will insist on DACA funding in a spending bill, teeing up a potential showdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that he is confident there will not be a government shutdown over partisan disagreements about immigration issues when funding runs out at the end of the week.
“There’s not going to be a government shutdown. It’s just not going to happen,” McConnell told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” when asked if Congress would be able to keep the government running.
The issue being discussed as a roadblock to keeping the government funded is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is set to end in March. The Obama-era program has protected young undocumented immigrants, known as “dreamers,” who came to the US as children, from deportation. Democrats say they will insist on protections for the dreamers in return for their support for a spending bill, giving rise to a potential showdown.
In return, some Republicans have said they want a robust border security package, something Trump campaigned on, but many Democrats are resisting.
“That’s a ridiculous position,” McConnell said of the Democrats’ stance on the DACA issue. “There’s no crisis. There’s no emergency. The President has given us until March to address it. I don’t think the Democrats would be very smart to say they want to shut down the government over a non-emergency.”
Congress needs to pass a spending bill by December 8 to keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown. Both the House and Senate are controlled by the GOP, but with only 52 Republicans in the Senate, the party lacks a filibuster-proof supermajority.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced plans Thursday to pass a short-term spending bill to keep Washington open while talks continue.
“If the Senate Democrats choose to filibuster that, they will have chosen to shut the government down, something that we do not want to see,” Ryan warned at a news conference.
Ryan did not say what time frame the spending bill cover, but multiple aides expect it will last through the Friday before Christmas, December 22.