Congressional leaders came to an agreement at the last minute yesterday on a temporary deal to fund the government while they negotiate a real spending plan. The announcement came just after Mitch McConnell dropped a bombshell, saying he will no longer lead the Senate’s Republicans starting at the end of the year. McConnell is the longest-serving party leader in Senate history, and says he plans to step down from his position at the top of the GOP later this year. Massachusetts Congresswoman Lori Trahan joined GBH’s Morning Edition co-host Jeremy Siegel to discuss the latest out of the Capitol and what it all means for the Commonwealth. This transcript has been lightly edited.

Jeremy Siegel: Beginning with the spending bill, this feels like a pattern at this point. The government almost shutting down, Democrats and Republicans can't come to a true agreement, but then kick the can down the road with a temporary deal. What exactly is going on here? And why can't your party and Republicans reach agreement?

Rep. Lori Trahan: Well, first, I'll say that it's great news for the hard-working families here in Massachusetts that last night, House and Senate negotiators were able to reach an agreement that will prevent a catastrophic shutdown at midnight tomorrow. Because keeping the government open and working for the people is the most basic responsibility we have as elected representatives. But truly, it's something that is proven to be a challenge under Republican control of this House. And it's cast a level of unnecessary uncertainty that a funding disaster is right around the corner. Look, my Democratic colleagues and I have remained committed over the past 14 months to averting those crises. And it's my hope that over the next couple of weeks, we're able to reach a long term funding solution that will end the threat of a shutdown for a significant period of time.

Siegel: Let's talk a little bit about your Republican counterparts. Senator Mitch McConnell is among the most polarizing figures, polarizing Republicans, on the Hill. His announcement yesterday that he is stepping down from leadership will mark a major shift in the Republican Party. Considering the difficulty of negotiations that you say you've had with the GOP on things like these spending plans, with McConnell stepping down, do you expect negotiations to become easier for Democrats with his departure?

Trahan: Well, no. I think what we're seeing is, you know, another step toward the Senate GOP moving closer to Trump. Look, there's certainly no love lost for Senator McConnell stepping down as Republican leader later this year. I mean, no one did more to pack the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court, with right wing judges that are largely responsible for disastrous decisions that we've seen on Roe [v. Wade], on the environment and so many other important issues. But at the same time, it's hard not to see this as an ominous sign of what's to come. By and large, Senator McConnell has served as a buffer in the last couple of years against the Republican Party's increasingly extreme, increasingly nationalist base. And you have no choice but to fear who may step up into that role as those voices only get more power in the GOP.

Siegel: So even though McConnell has been one of the most harshly criticized people from folks on the left, you believe that his departure could be bad news for Democrats?

Trahan: Well, yes. I mean, I think — look, there's no question right now that Donald Trump is sort of running the House GOP. And we've seen him kill a deal on the border as a result of him becoming closer to becoming the Republican nominee. It's a bad sign, I think, of where the Republican [party] is barreling toward. And I think that, you know, it's going to play out as the Senate GOP elects their next leader.

Siegel: One area where McConnell's legacy is certain to be felt is on the Supreme Court, where his hardline approach to nominees has shifted the court far to the right. The clearest example of that being the recent ruling striking down Roe v. Wade. That has come into even sharper focus this week, with the recent Alabama ruling that embryos created through IVF should be considered children. I know this is an issue and a piece of reproductive health that you yourself have firsthand experience with. How are you personally watching what's happened in Alabama and what it means for other parts of the country?

Trahan: Look, I don't actually talk about this much, but more and more over the last two weeks. But becoming a mom wasn't easy for me. My husband and I, we struggled for a long time to get pregnant with both of my daughters, to the point where, you know, it felt like it might never happen. Like thousands of women here in Massachusetts and across the country who struggle with fertility, I turned to IVF as my only hope, and that process was harder than I could have ever imagined. But I wake up every day so grateful that IVF gave us two beautiful daughters, and I just want to make sure that other women struggling with their own fertility challenges have the same chance I did.

The Alabama Supreme Court's ruling that the state's extreme Republican abortion ban could lead to charges against women and providers going through IVF is a gut punch for me, but it's disastrous for women in Alabama. The idea that a family who has gone through every possible option before finally turning to IVF, having that option ripped away from them, that's just a pain I can't imagine. And it's something that we've been raising concerns about since the Dobbs decision. And now we're seeing that become a reality in Alabama, with other states possibly following close behind. And one other thing I'll say right now, Republicans are scrambling right now. You have 125 House Republicans co-sponsoring legislation right now as we speak, that would effectively ban IVF treatment like we've seen in Alabama, but it would do so nationwide. Yesterday in the Senate chamber, Senate Republicans stopped an effort to codify the protection of IVF. So this is — it's hard to imagine that while some Republicans are saying that they're either surprised by the Alabama decision or they're appalled by it, to not think that this is part of their playbook, and something that that was very much intentional.

Siegel: In the remaining 10 seconds we have, Congresswoman, you were recently elected the co-chair of messaging for the Democratic Party in the House. Do you believe reproductive rights is an issue, given what you just said, that President Biden should be focusing on in the general election, that could win Democrats the general in November?

Trahan: Absolutely. This is going to be one of the defining issues this election. This is about protecting our basic freedoms, which Democrats have a track record of doing, right? Codifying Roe v. Wade, to make sure women have a full portfolio of reproductive freedom, making sure that they have access to mifepristone and to IVF. That's what this election is going to be about. The Democrats are for expanding those innovations and those freedoms for women and people who want to start families. And Republicans are about taking them away.