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Capito doesn’t see timely resolution

CHARLESTON — Within a week of a deadline for funding the federal government, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said it’s definitely time to worry.

“I am very concerned. A government shutdown is a miserable tactic. It scares people — if you’re on Social Security, veterans, federal worker. Are you gonna get paid? What’s gonna happen?” Capito said Monday at a public event in Charleston while Congress was not in session.

“There’s going to be no good solution here, and so I am hoping when I go back [today] that we can lay this to rest, that we can continue funding the government until we find a final solution. But I am adamantly opposed to a government shutdown and doing everything I can to prevent it.”

A shutdown, Capito noted, could affect operations at federal facilities that employ West Virginians. Also affected could be national parks in West Virginia.

The deadline for Congress to reach some agreement and avoid a shutdown is Saturday.

Up against the clock, the Republican-led House of Representatives has been divided about whether to proceed with a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open for a few weeks or whether to push for steeper cuts to federal funding in separate bills.

Republican leaders in the House have lined up four appropriations bills this week: Defense, Agriculture, State-Foreign Ops and Homeland Security. It’s still not clear whether there’s enough support even to pass the rule to start the process.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, with a narrow majority, is also up against the threat of a vacate-the-chair motion that could result in loss of his position.

“I think McCarthy’s got a tough job. He’s a good friend of mine,” said Capito, who spent many years as a congressional representative. “He’s been to Charleston here with me, and he has some members who, I read this morning, have said ‘My constituents want me to shut the government down.’”

Senators have started working on a bill representing a stopgap funding measure, including Ukraine aid and disaster relief money. But the details on that still don’t have consensus.

Capito said she is usually an optimist about allocations puzzles, but this one is particularly contentious.

“From everything I’ve read, I am not optimistic that the government’s going to remain open,” Capito said. “Now, I think it would be a short period of time, maybe, if it closes. If it shuts — I have been in several government shutdowns, and it’s a disservice to the American people. But I remain pessimistic. I think it’s going to happen.”

Capito called for a reasonable solution.

“I think sanity needs to prevail here,” she said. “If you shut the government down, what happens? People get upset, worried, you lose leverage in a negotiation, and basically you have to reopen it so there’s no gain here for anybody. And I think we’re better off sitting at the negotiating table trying to reach a solution rather than making this big splash in the media that really sends bad signals internally and also internationally.”

Former President Donald Trump has posted several times on his social media site, Truth Social, urging a shutdown unless hardcore Republicans get everything they want. Elements of Trump’s statements have suggested a shutdown would penalize the Biden administration’s border policies and suffocate federal funding of the investigations where Trump faces criminal charges.

Trump also took aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican who has warned against a shutdown.

MetroNews’ Carrie Hodousek interviewed Capito Monday.