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GOP Senator says he is willing to risk government shutdown

WASHINGTON, DC- MARCH 2: Sen. John McCain speaks to reporters in the Senate subway after a vote on Rick Perry for Energy Secretary March 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. McCain commented on accusations about Attorney General Jeff Sessions contact with Russian officials. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) says he will not vote for another continuing resolution (CR), even if that means shutting down the government.

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told CNN Wednesday that he will do whatever it takes to ensure the military gets more money in the next spending bill.  McCain said he would not vote for a CR because “passing a CR destroys the ability of the military to defend this nation, and it puts the lives of the men and women in the military at risk.”

A continuing resolution keeps government spending at current levels while lawmakers continue to negotiate details of a new budget plan.

Congress must approve a budget by April 28th, or risk a government shutdown.  The last shutdown lasted 16 days in October of 2013.  500,000 federal workers were told to stay home because the government simply did not have the money to pay them.  National parks, monuments, and war memorials closed. That saved money on park service employees’ paychecks, but it also cost the economy in lost spending.  In fact, Standards & Poor’s estimates that overall the government shutdown cost America about $1.5 billion per day – or about $1,700 per second.

The shutdown came at a particularly bad time for the Pacific Northwest, because it coincided with the start of King Crab fishing season. With federal workers furloughed during the shutdown, crabbers were not able to get their federal quotas. Fishermen lost an estimated $80,000 per day sitting in the dock, waiting on paperwork.

The shutdown also affected medical research.  University of Washington was about to start a clinical trial for breast cancer patients when the government shutdown delayed final approval from the National Institute of Health.  While Congress eventually voted to pay government employees back for the money they lost during the shutdown, people who lost money because they could not do business during the shutdown were out of luck.

 

Congress has veered close to a government shutdown several times since 2013, but managed to avoid it in each case by voting for a continuing resolution at the last minute.

CNN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.