Sen. Rob Portman predicted today that Congress will reach an agreement on a temporary spending bill in time to avert a partial shutdown of the federal government on Tuesday.
In a joint video interview with Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, Portman, R-Ohio said, “I suspect government will stay open. But boy, it’ll be right up to the last minute.’’
Portman made his prediction even though he joined 43 other Republicans today in voting against a temporary spending measure designed to keep the government open. Portman said he voted against the measure because it spent $19 billion more than originally agreed to two years ago in a budget compromise.
Brown joined 53 other senators in approving the temporary spending bill. It now goes to the House where it faces an uncertain fate because House GOP lawmakers have demanded that any spending bill include a de-funding of the 2010 health law known as ObamaCare.
Portman and Brown joined moderator and former Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, in the video call. Glenn and his wife Annie hosted the call from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University.
Originally, Portman and Brown were scheduled to appear today with Glenn at Ohio State. But when Senate leaders scheduled a key series of votes today on the temporary spending bill, they were forced to do the video call.
While they may have voted differently, Portman and Brown agreed that shutting down the government is just a plain bad idea.
“Keeping the government open is just something that is our obligation,” Brown said, “Just the fact that we ask that question bothers me.”
Worrying about whether the government will or won’t continue to operate past the end of this month “creates far too much uncertainty,” Brown argued, and ultimately weakens the economy. “We seem to lurch from crisis to crisis,” Brown lamented.