McCain threatens shutdown if continuing resolution is on the table

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(CNN) — Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he will do whatever it takes to make sure that military spending is increased in the next spending bill even if that means shutting down the government.

The Arizona Republican told CNN he wouldn’t vote for a continuing resolution, a funding bill that maintains the previous spending levels. When asked how far he would go, McCain said he only had one vote, but that he wouldn’t rule out a shutdown.

“If that’s the only option. I will not vote for a CR no matter what the consequences 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,” McCain said. “I can’t do that to them.”

McCain’s comments come as leaders are making a serious effort to negotiate the remaining appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2017 that would likely include some of the new military spending that McCain is pushing for.

Congressional leaders are up against a tight deadline. After last week’s failure to pass the health care bill out of the House, there are questions about how much leaders can get passed even if their goal remains to finish appropriations bills instead of passing a continuing resolution. Congress has to come to an agreement before the government runs out of money April 28.

Raising the stakes?

Congress is on recess for two weeks in mid-April.

McCain has long been an advocate for increased military spending and has voted for continuing resolutions in the past, but this time, McCain says he just won’t do it and that the military would be set back by another CR.

“I will not vote for a CR. I don’t care what’s in it,” he said.

McCain’s comments may put pressure on leaders to see that some rank-and-file members are serious. If that’s the only option, there could be a shutdown ahead.