McCarthy’s plan to avoid a shutdown hits Republican opposition hard | ET REALITY


President Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to gain the upper hand in a battle over federal spending ran into stiff opposition within his own ranks on Monday, leaving him with dwindling options and little time to find a way out of an impasse on spending. financing that could lead to a government shutdown. in less than two weeks.

About a dozen Republicans made clear that they strongly opposed the proposal unveiled Sunday, which combines a stopgap spending measure with deep funding cuts and new border controls, signaling that they cannot be induced to change their votes by pressure from leaders. The measure had little chance of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate, but McCarthy, who has made clear he is desperate to avoid a politically damaging shutdown, has promoted it as a way to pressure the other chamber to go his way. in terms of spending. .

However, internal resistance made it clear that it lacks votes to approve it.

“The House Republican is once again failing the American people and following a path of cunning and circuses,” Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Indiana, said in a statement. “Neither Republicans nor Democrats have the guts to challenge the corrupt morass that is bankrupting our children and grandchildren. It is a shame that our weak speaker cannot even commit to having a commission to discuss our impending fiscal catastrophe.”

“This city is addicted to spending other people’s money,” Rep. Eli Crane, R-Ariz., said on X, formerly Twitter. “Enough is enough.”

With McCarthy’s slim majority, opposition from a dozen Republicans would make it impossible for him to advance the bill, as Democrats are uniformly opposed and so far in no rush to bail out the president. When he arrived at the Capitol on Monday, McCarthy suggested that lawmakers might change their minds once they were able to fully digest the legislation, but admitted he faced a tough sell.

“It’s good that I like challenges,” McCarthy said. “Every day is going to be a challenge. “I have a long week.”

The proposal crafted over the weekend would extend federal funding through October, giving the House and Senate time to make more progress on their spending bills stalled for a year. It would cut the budgets of most federal agencies for that period by about 8 percent, while exempting the military, veterans programs and disaster relief. It would also restore some strict Trump-era immigration policies. It does not contain funds to continue military assistance to Ukraine, money that the White House and both parties in the Senate have requested.

Given the cuts, immigration provisions that Democrats oppose and the lack of aid for Ukraine, the interim proposal has no chance of passing as it stands in the Senate. McCarthy was well aware of this, but he hoped that House approval would be a show of force that would force a Senate response and potentially shift the responsibility for a shutdown to the entire Rotunda.

It was a strategy that worked for McCarthy in the debt limit showdown earlier this year, when he defied expectations and was able to get the House to pass a debt limit increase tied to spending cuts, forcing the President Biden to begin negotiations with him that led to an eventual agreement. But the far-right conservatives in the House of Representatives, who reluctantly cast that first vote to raise the debt limit, were unhappy with the deal that McCarthy ultimately struck, and do not appear willing to give him that support in the current fight. for the expense.

While some conservatives opposed the plan, the prospect of a shutdown alarmed other Republicans, including those in swing districts led by Biden in 2020, who could feel the political backlash of a government shutdown.

“They don’t know how to take yes for an answer,” Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., said in a post on Platform “A victory. They don’t know how to work as a team. I will NOT support a government shutdown. If they refuse to approve a CR, I will do it without them.”

McCarthy has repeatedly said he does not want the government to shut down and could try to pass a stopgap bill with a mix of Republican votes like Lawler and Democrats, as he did with the final debt vote. limit agreement. But some right-wing Republicans have said such a move would put his position in doubt.

The new proposal had some conservative support. Rep. Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas and a leading member of the far-right Freedom Caucus group, accepted it and said House approval would leave Senate Democrats responsible for the shutdown if they rejected it. Roy, one of the architects of the immigration restrictions that were adopted by the House earlier this year, was among those who had said he would not support any temporary spending if he did not fortify the border.

“A 30-day extension by the GOP to force an 8% cut in the Justice Department and the rest of the federal bureaucracy is a cut to their weapons buildup while bypassing border security and knocking the Department of Justice’s awakening. Defense,” Roy said on platform X as he tried to rally conservatives behind the proposal.

In addition to the temporary funding bill, McCarthy also hoped to revive a Pentagon spending measure that stalled last week when right-wing Republicans said they would not allow it to come up for discussion. McCarthy said Sunday that he intended to force a vote on that legislation and see if conservatives would buckle under the pressure of being accused of abandoning the military.

The Chamber was not the only one that faced a funding impasse. After weeks of bipartisan progress, the Senate hit a roadblock Thursday when Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., objected to a plan to consider three different spending bills together.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, announced on Monday that the Senate would vote later this week to suspend its rules and overcome Johnson’s objection so that the spending package could advance, a maneuver that would require 67 votes.

An initial test vote would be held on Wednesday. Some Republican senators seemed open to the idea, but Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, indicated they would likely discuss the issue at a private party meeting Tuesday.

Schumer also made clear that the House Republicans’ proposal, which he called an “insult” to Ukraine, had no chance in the Senate.

“Last night’s proposal in the House can be summed up in two words: careless, reckless,” Schumer said. “Sloppy because it is not a serious proposal to avoid a shutdown, and reckless because if approved it would cause immense damage to so many priorities that help the American people.”

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