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Sen. Bernie Sanders on the potential federal government shutdown

Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses the state's flood response at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.
Mike Dougherty
Vermont Public
Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses the state's flood response at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, July 12.

Senator Bernie Sanders says he's worried about public backlash if a small group of conservative House Republicans derail efforts to fund the federal government before a weekend deadline.

Because Republicans hold a slim majority in the House, Sanders says a handful of the most conservative members can block consideration of a compromise short term budget bill.

More from Vermont Public: How a federal government shutdown could affect Vermont

And, if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy doesn't accept their demands, the group is threatening to try to oust him from his post.

Sanders says that kind of political play is bad for the country.

"They are undermining faith in democracy — faith in our government in trying to force a situation where a tiny number of House members are undermining what the vast majority of the American people and Congress wants to do," Sanders says.

Sanders says the Senate is working on a bipartisan plan to keep the government open for the next six weeks.

Sanders says it's essential that any short-term budget plan to keep the federal government open also includes billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine.

The proposal also includes $6 billion in aid for Ukraine.

Sanders says he's concerned that Republican House leaders oppose this plan. But he says failing to help Ukraine could lead to less global stability.

"Well look, Russia invaded Ukraine and I think if they are allowed to get way with that and the United States does not support Ukraine it will simply embolden Russian imperialism and create a never ending crisis in Europe," Sanders says.

But McCarthy says he has no interest in bringing the bill forward for a vote.

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Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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