By Donald Judd and Piper Hudspeth Blackburn, CNN
(CNN) — The White House issued a stark warning Wednesday that a looming government shutdown could threaten crucial federal programs, blasting “extreme House Republicans” as lawmakers struggle to reach consensus on a funding plan.
“While President Biden has been in New York this week showcasing America’s global leadership on the world stage, extreme House Republicans are consumed by chaos and marching our country toward a government shutdown that would damage our communities, economy, and national security,” the White House warned on Wednesday.
“Instead of following the bipartisan example of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, extreme House Republicans continue to demand a reckless laundry list of partisan proposals as a condition of keeping the government open – from an evidence-free impeachment that even some of their own members don’t agree with, to reckless cuts to programs millions of hardworking families and seniors count on, to a litany of other extraneous ideological demands.”
With government funding set to expire on September 30, House Republicans, who hold a majority in the chamber, are trying to push through a plan to temporarily fund the government and beef up border security. But the caucus appears deeply divided on the path forward as conservative hardliners dig in in their opposition to the plan, which is dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
If lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement, the White House said, active-duty military and federal law enforcement personnel would be forced to work without pay until funds are appropriated, while FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund – which the administration has already warned is running dangerously low – could be depleted, complicating disaster relief efforts.
The White House estimates 10,000 children would lose access to Head Start programs across the country as the Department of Health and Human Services is prevented from awarding grants during a shutdown, while air traffic controllers and TSA officers would have to work without pay, threatening travel delays across the country. A shutdown would also delay food safety inspections under the Food and Drug Administration.
“These consequences are real and avoidable – but only if House Republicans stop playing political games with peoples’ lives and catering to the ideological demands of their most extreme, far-right members,” the White House said. “It’s time for House Republicans to abide by the bipartisan budget agreement that a majority of them voted for, keep the government open, and address other urgent needs for the American people.”
House GOP leaders are planning to vote on the proposal to fund the government this week, as some of the conference’s more conservative members have threatened to oppose a procedural vote, which would prevent the bill from coming to the floor.
Meanwhile, some Republicans and Democrats are considering teaming up on a so-called discharge petition to fund the government if the House Republican-brokered plan fails.
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries will huddle with the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus on Wednesday amid the ongoing discussions, two sources told CNN on Tuesday.
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CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Lauren Fox, Annie Grayer and Haley Talbot contributed to this report.