House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries says Republicans are to blame if a shutdown were to occur

Jeffries, House Minority Leader, wonders if traditional Republicans will break from their MAGA colleagues

House Republicans would threaten the livelihoods of Americans if they backed out of a deal to keep the government open, Democratic lawmakers said.

House Speaker Mike Johnson reached a deal with House Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. But GOP hardliners. who complained the agreement doesn’t cut the budget enough, want him to back out of the deal.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries,
US House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on September 29, 2023. Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Dispute the pressure, Johnson said he’s sticking with the deal.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told theGrio that despite the “dysfunction” within the House GOP, House Democrats are doing what they can to prevent a government shutdown.

“We were able to reach a top-line spending agreement in a bipartisan way that has unlocked the appropriations process that from the standpoint of House Democrats is now in the hands of (Rep.) Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and the appropriations team,” he said.

“We have full confidence in their ability to do what is necessary to craft spending bills that meet the needs of the American people,” he continued.

The New York lawmaker added that House Democrats are confident that “Senate Democrats under the leadership of Chuck Schumer and Senate Republicans are willing to work in a bipartisan way to reach an ultimate spending agreement with respect to the 12 bills that need to be passed into law.”

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., told theGrio, that a government shutdown would cripple American lives, “If a government shuts down, then people who work for the federal government who have families that are dependent upon that income will go hungry.”

He stated that “recipients of benefits, the disabled, those who are dependent on government checks for their retirement” will also be affected.

House Speaker Mike Johnson,
U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol May 11, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“The government is here to be by and for the people,” Johnson added. “There would be no government action during a government shutdown…the people would ultimately suffer.”

If a government shutdown were to occur next week, it would impact transportation, agriculture, housing and energy programs. The remaining government programs could face a shutdown on Feb. 2.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., previously told theGrio that Black female entrepreneurs who receive federal government contracts would also be impacted by a government shutdown.

“Women entrepreneurs who have finally gotten through the federal contracting process and are providing services to the federal government…will not be paid for those contracts,” Clarke said.

“There will be a ripple effect in Black and brown communities because we’ve finally begun to crack the code in federal contracting,” she continued.

CBC Chairman Steven Horsford,
Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) speaks during a news conference about the Justice For All Act outside the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, previously told theGrio that a government shutdown would be financially catastrophic.

“A shutdown would hurt Black Americans and our country’s working families…resulting in lost wages and weighing down our nation’s economy,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, said in an earlier interview with theGrio that 18% of federal workers are Black and “asking them to work without pay or furloughing them is both disrespectful and bad governance.”

Due to Johnson’s willingness to work with House Democrats, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, has floated the idea of ousting Johnson, similar to what happened to former congressman and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Jeffries told theGrio, “The House Republican agenda is chaos, dysfunction, and extremism.”

Johnson told theGrio that this is “another example of complete and utter dysfunction and chaos brought on the American people and this institution by a reckless and out of control House MAGA Republican majority.

“One that has only the purpose of gaining the reelection of former President Trump,” he added.

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clark, D-N.Y.,
Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-NY., speaks with other lawmakers about Border Policies during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday, January 26, 2023, in Washington DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, as the government shutdown deadline looms, Jeffries told theGrio, “The open question remains whether traditional Republicans are willing to break from the MAGA extremists who are clearly determined to shut down government.”

“If any government shutdown occurs, it will be the sole result of Republicans once again deciding that if they are unable to jam their extreme right-wing policies down the throats of the American people, they’re going to shut down the government, hurt everyday Americans and crash the economy,” he added.

Jeffries told theGrio that Housae Democrats “are going to do everything possible to stop that from happening.”

Recommended Stories

Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.