Joe Biden shuts down ‘silly question’ on government shutdown
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Joe Biden delivered an update on America’s COVID-19 winter plan to tackle the rise in cases and revealed more vaccine appointments, family vaccination clinics, and home tests would be used over the holidays. But the media-evading president quickly left the stage at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland without taking any questions as journalists could be heard shouting them out. One question that took Mr Biden’s interest asked him whether the Government would shut down after Republicans wanted to challenge vaccine mandates which saw a blunt response from the US head of state.
Republicans wished to challenge a bill that covered the funding of federal agencies for the next few months as a response to Mr Biden’s vaccine and mask requirements for government bodies.
Mr Biden announced staff of federal governments and large private sector businesses would need to receive compulsory vaccines, a move which has seen strong push back.
Republicans sought to upset a bill to voice their opposition to the mandate but it passed 221-212 in the House of Representatives which was voted on party lines except for one Republican rebel.
Speaking before the last-minute vote went ahead, Mr Biden was asked on Thursday by a reporter: “Will there be a government shutdown on Friday?”
Mr Biden bluntly replied “no” before being asked how he would ensure that it would not happen.
The President stepped towards the crowd and said: “How could you ask such a silly question?
“Look, I don’t believe that will happen. We have everything in place to be able to make sure there is not a shutdown unless some individual…
“I spoke with Mitch McConnell, I spoke with Schumer. There is a plan in place, unless somebody decides to be totally erratic. And I don’t think that will happen, so I don’t think there will be a shutdown.”
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If the bill was blocked, funding for museums, libraries, and other government outlets would be completely cut.
The last government shutdown was under Donald Trump which started on December 22 2018 and lasted 35 days.
The shutdown, the longest in US history, happened because Mr Trump wanted a budget to include nearly $6billion to fund his US-Mexico border wall.
Democrats did not back the measure meaning federal agencies were without cash as the whole bill was blocked, causing chaos for many services.
Mr Trump eventually conceded and no money for his wall was given in the new budget.
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Mr Biden has been hostile towards reporters since taking office and has been attacked for actively avoiding media scrutiny.
Earlier this year, White House correspondents put in an official complaint to Press Secretary Jen Psaki after they were hurriedly ushered out of the Oval Office during Boris Johnson’s visit.
The Prime Minister took questions from UK media outlets but reporters were quickly escorted out of the room once questions were finished and were unable to quiz Mr Biden.
Mr Biden also rarely takes questions after press conferences and bizarrely told preschoolers in New Jersey: “You know, when you’re president, you know all these [reporters] here?
“They’re with you all the time and they get to ask you all types of questions and you try to figure out how you can avoid answering them.”
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