Fetterman blasts the government shutdown near-miss and says lawmakers can't 'allow' the Freedom Caucus to turn governing into 'The Steve Wilkos Show'

John Fetterman
Sen. John Fetterman at the US Capitol.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
  • Sen. John Fetterman blasted the Freedom Caucus over the government shutdown near-miss on Saturday.

  • "This is not entertainment, it's governance," the Pennsylvania Democrat said in a statement.

  • The Senate overwhelmingly passed a stopgap bill that was then signed into law by President Biden.

Sen. John Fetterman on Saturday slammed what he said was the normalization of congressional dysfunction after a last-minute spending bill passed by the House and the upper chamber averted a government shutdown.

But the Pennsylvania Democrat also had a more pointed message, arguing that lawmakers had to stop the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus from making government seem akin to the drama of daytime television.

In a statement made shortly after the Senate passed a 45-day stopgap spending measure, which was then signed into law by President Joe Biden, Fetterman remarked that American citizens shouldn't "have to worry about their government shutting down."

"Pushing the snooze button solves nothing because these same losers will try to pull the same shit in 45 days," he bluntly said.

"I voted yes tonight to keep the government open, but I'm done normalizing this dysfunction," he continued. "This is not entertainment. It's governance. We must not allow the Freedom Caucus to turn our government into 'The Steve Wilkos Show.'"

The Senate voted 88-9 to approve the stopgap measure after the House backed the bill 335-91, with both votes occurring less than 24 hours before the Saturday night deadline. Passage of the measure now ensures that the government will be funded through mid-November, with added relief funding for natural disaster victims.

However, the bill did not include additional aid for Ukraine, which was a point of contention among conservatives, many of whom have become increasingly opposed to sending additional aid to the war-torn country.

After the Senate passed the stopgap measure, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the broad bipartisan vote while excoriating hardline conservatives over the weeks of political wrangling on Capitol Hill.

"Our bipartisanship made this possible and showed the House that they had to act," the New York Democrat said after the Senate vote.

"We will keep the government open for 45 days with a clean [continuing resolution] at current funding levels," Schumer continued. "And we avoided all of the extreme, nasty, and harmful cuts MAGA Republicans wanted."

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