White House official not optimistic about averting partial government shutdown

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -White House budget director Shalanda Young said Friday she is not optimistic about reaching a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown later this month.

“I wouldn’t say pessimistic but I’m not optimistic,” Young said at a breakfast meeting with reporters sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, citing a trip by House Republicans this week to the U.S.-Mexico border and comments by some lawmakers advocating for a partial shutdown with two weeks remaining. “The rhetoric this week has concerned me that (a shutdown) is the path that House Republicans are headed down.”

Congress returns to Washington next week to tackle Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 deadlines for settling government spending through September, amid Republican demands to reduce fiscal 2024 discretionary spending below caps agreed in June.

Lawmakers also hope to pass emergency aid for Ukraine and Israel, possibly with unrelated U.S. border security provisions attached.

Young urged House Republicans to reach a deal on border security and policy reforms. Republicans are not going to “get everything they want and people have to know how to take a deal.”

She again made an urgent call for Congress to approve more funding for Ukraine. “We have got to get to a deal, not start from scratch with new talks,” Young said. “This is dire.”

She said it is not just about the direct funding to Ukraine from the United States “but what signal that sends across the world.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)