Mark Meadows wearing a suit and tie: Doug Mills/Getty Images

© Doug Mills/Getty Images
Doug Mills/Getty Images

  • Meadows said Wednesday he “can’t guarantee” the federal government will avoid a shutdown in December.
  • “Obviously, we want to keep the government funded,” Meadows said per a Capitol Hill pool report.
  • Both parties are still negotiating and attempting to bridge policy divisions.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Wednesday he “can’t guarantee” the federal government will avoid a shutdown in December.

While not ruling out a shutdown, Meadows said both parties are trying to reach an agreement to finance government agencies and keep them open.

“Obviously, we want to keep the government funded,” Meadows said, per a Capitol Hill pool report. He called it “a high priority.”

The Trump administration and Congress must approve a dozen spending bills to fund most government agencies by December 11, and those negotiations are ongoing. Both parties are still attempting to bridge divisions over public health funding and childcare among other issues.

Lawmakers could also strike an agreement on a “continuing resolution” that maintains existing federal agency funding for a short period of time. If neither outcome materializes, swaths of the government will shut down.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2018, President Donald Trump presided over the longest shutdown in US history, which lasted 35 days. He had demanded Congress fund a border wall with Mexico.

Meadow’s comments come as Trump still refuses to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden defeated him. He appears to have mostly withdrawn from legislative matters while attempting to contest the election outcome. 

Congress remains gridlocked on another coronavirus relief package, which many economists say is needed to support individuals and hard-hit businesses as virus cases surge nationwide.

There are no ongoing discussions between top congressional leaders on another federal rescue package so far. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to restart relief talks. 

Nearly 12 million people could lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the year if lawmakers fail to extend jobless aid, according to a new analysis from the left-leaning Century Foundation.

McConnell on Wednesday said Republicans, Democrats and the Trump administration all sought to approve an “omnibus” package that included the 12 separate spending bills for federal agencies.

“It’s our hope, and I think this is the speaker’s view as well, that we can come together on an omnibus and pass it,” McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I believe that’s the preference of the White House as well.”

Read more: Cannabis stocks soared after Biden’s win. Morningstar’s chief US market strategist told us the 2 names that are still the most undervalued — and says the industry is well-positioned for gains in the years to come.

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