CHARLESTON — Members of the U.S. Senate spent much of August in recess, spending time in their states. But lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill this week as a deadline to prevent a government shutdown looms.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito talked to members of the press Thursday afternoon in a virtual briefing as she wrapped up her first week back in the Capitol.

Capito, R-W.Va., spent much of August traveling the state, announcing new earmarks for volunteer fire departments, research at West Virginia University, clean water projects; addressing the business community; promoting the economic successes since the New River Gorge National Park and Refuge was designated a new national park; the need for new nuclear energy projects; and traveling overseas.

“I’ve obviously been on a senatorial recess for several weeks, and during that time I had some great constituent meetings and great business meetings,” Capito said.

Capito recently received defense briefings during an overseas trip to Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Fiji and Hawaii with an all-woman delegation of members of the Senate and House of Representatives. The focus of the briefings was the growing militarization of the Pacific region by China and continued threats to nearby Taiwan.

“We know there’s a looming threat with China,” Capito said. “What is the situation, and where, and are they going to move aggressively on Taiwan or not? We need to shore up our allies there. We also saw joint exercises with Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. With our military joint training exercises, we were able to tour submarines. We met with some of our military leaders, both in Australia but also more principally in Hawaii.”

The delegation also supported the U.S. women’s soccer team. Capito was a co-sponsor of the Equal Pay for Equal Play for Team USA Act, which ensures women athletes who compete in international sporting events receive the same pay as their male counterparts.

President Joe Biden signed the bill into law earlier this year.

“I was very instrumental in the Equal Pay for Equal Play for Team USA Act to make sure our women athletes are paid equally,” Capito said. “As you look at women’s sports and the leadership that the American women athletes have played, particularly in the soccer arena but other arenas, we’re leading with our values there. We’re talking about the empowerment of women and leadership roles, and also globally cementing friendships.”

But the Senate is back and preparing for negotiations with the U.S. House of Representatives to prevent a government shutdown by the end of September. Capito and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Capito said the committee will consider three appropriations bills that will keep the government funded past Sept. 30.

“We have some challenges, principally the funding bill,” Capito said. “We’re going to do everything we can to avoid that government shutdown that nobody wants. And certainly, I don’t. Having lived through several, I don’t want to see that again, it’s a useless exercise in my opinion.”

The other appropriations bills being considered include the 2023 Farm Bill funding various agricultural programs and the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act.

Earlier this summer, Congress approved a deal on the debt ceiling to avoid a government default. Capito believes lawmakers can once again come up with a deal to avoid a government shutdown.

“We have a lot on our plate, and I look forward to this month,” Capito said. “It’ll be brisk, it’ll be interesting and hopefully on the spending front we can reign in that spending and hold the line on it like we negotiated earlier in the year to make sure that we are holding fast to that agreement.”