Two top Republicans in the Senate indicated on Tuesday that the partial government shutdown may last for weeks, forcing Congress to deal with passing a short-term resolution to fund the government while also negotiating an increase in the debt ceiling.
Non-essential elements of the federal government shut down on Tuesday, and the country is set to hit its debt limit around October 17.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who is also a part of the Republican leadership in the Senate, both said they would prefer to end the government shutdown before negotiating an increase in the debt limit.
“I’d like to resolve the current issue before we move on to the debt limit, but it’s not clear to me when that gets resolved,” McConnell said on Tuesday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Thune “said Democrats would like to see the shutdown continue until the debt ceiling is increased” but indicated that he would “prefer to deal with the short-term government funding question separately than the debt ceiling.”
The Journal also cited “two top Senate Democratic aides” who said it was “increasingly likely” that a short-term resolution to fund the government and a deal on raising the country’s debt limit will “get done together.”