Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Mitch McConnell: Expect more shutdown brinkmanship if Republicans take the Senate

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says that if the GOP emerges from the midterms with control of both chambers of Congress, he'll give Obama a choice: Pass bills you don't like, or risk another government shutdown.

In an interview with Politico, McConnell says that if he ran the Senate, he would slap riders — unrelated, typically partisan amendments — on to spending bills to force Obama to "move to the center." Stacking bills to fund the government with a wish list of non-germane conservative policy would naturally trigger a confrontation with the president that could cause Washington to once again grind to a halt — something McConnell seems keenly aware of.

But asked about the potential that his approach could spark another shutdown, McConnell said it would be up to the president to decide whether to veto spending bills that would keep the government open.

Obama "needs to be challenged, and the best way to do that is through the funding process," McConnell said. "He would have to make a decision on a given bill, whether there's more in it that he likes than dislikes." [Politico]

Last year, the GOP insisted on trying to defund ObamaCare via a spending bill. Obama refused to go along with such a gambit, resulting in the first government shutdown in two decades.

Republicans have roughly a 61 percent chance of retaking the Senate, according to The New York Times' latest election forecast.