By Ashley Killough
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. John McCain promised Thursday the government will not shut down again in the near future, and argued the President, as the victor in the recent showdown, will now have to engage with his political opponents on Capitol Hill.
In an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” the Arizona Republican also weighed in on the GOP’s infighting that escalated to new heights during the government shutdown.
McCain said there’s no need to worry that another congressional impasse will lead to the same result, even though lawmakers face another set of deadlines in the coming months over the same fiscal issues.
“We’re not going to go through the shutdown again. People have been too traumatized by it. There’s too much damage,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
“We may still have some gridlock,” he later added. “Maybe we’ll have continuing resolutions that – we’re not going to shut down the government again. I guarantee it.”
McCain cited declining poll numbers for Democrats and slightly more for Republicans. “You know, I have this line that I use all the time: We’re down to blood relatives and paid staffers. Well, I got a call from my mother who’s 101,” he said, joking he’s now “even lost my mother.”
Why does he have such confidence the government won’t go dark again? The 2008 GOP presidential nominee believes President Barack Obama, who repeatedly refused to negotiate, said he’ll have to “engage” next time around.
“He has got to understand that magnanimity in victory is a very important quality to have. He won,” McCain said. “Now you sit down with your adversaries and get things worked out. If you don’t, obviously you’re not going to be a successful president.”
The President signed into law late Wednesday night the bill that keeps the government open through January 15 and allows the government to borrow money through February 7. In the meantime, select members from the House and Senate will meet to hammer out a yearlong budget by sometime in December.
While conservative Republicans weren’t too happy with the deal, as it didn’t include major anti-Obamacare provisions, some argued Thursday that their effort was worth the fight.
McCain said the debate within the GOP is “healthy for us to have,” but argued they still need “to come together.”
“There’s a fight in our party, and that has to be waged and it’s been there before. It’s also about internationalists versus isolationist,” he said. But he was quick to remind his colleagues of former President Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment.
“Don’t speak ill of your fellow Republicans,” he said. “We’ve done way too much of that.”
McCain has famously butted heads with some of the younger, more libertarian-leaning members of the Senate, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.
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