As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dug in on Thursday, refusing to consider Senate legislation meant to keep the federal government fully operational despite House Republicans’ struggles to agree on an alternative, a government shutdown appeared all but imminent.
Days before a disruptive federal shutdown that would stop payments for many of the nearly 2 million federal employees as well as 2 million active-duty military personnel and reservists, furlough many of those employees, and reduce government services, Congress is at a standstill.
But despite the fact that there is not much time left before government funding ends after Saturday midnight, the House and Senate are taking different actions to avoid such repercussions.
While longer-term negotiations continue, the Senate is aiming to approve a bipartisan plan that would fund the government through November 17 and allocate $6 billion to Ukraine and $6 billion to disaster aid in the United States.
In the meantime, the House has scheduled votes on four of the twelve yearly spending measures that finance various agencies in an effort to persuade enough Republicans to back a continuing resolution that was drafted by the House and temporarily funds the government while enhancing border security with Mexico.
Although unlikely, McCarthy projected a settlement.
He added in an interview with CNBC, “Put your money on me; we’re going to get this done.” “I believe we can work all weekend. I believe we can resolve this. Legislators were already worn out after weeks of late-night bargaining.
According to some there, there was tension at McCarthy’s closed-door meeting with Republicans on Thursday morning, which was highlighted by a heated discussion between the speaker and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. McCarthy was questioned by Gaetz regarding the topic of conservative online influencers being paid to publish bad things about him. Gaetz has been taunting McCarthy with threats to remove him from his position for weeks. Gaetz told reporters that McCarthy replied, “I wouldn’t waste my time on something like that,” as he left the meeting.
McCarthy is frantically trying to come up with a plan to avert a shutdown and secure Republican backing as his majority is fragmenting. According to those there, the speaker attempted to pressure Senate Democrats into making some compromises while also promising to publish a Republican stopgap plan, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, on Friday.
However, as time was running out, many GOP legislators were either delaying their support for a stopgap measure until they could see it. Without McCarthy’s backing, other people are thinking about joining Democrats to introduce a bill that might avert a shutdown.
McCarthy has limited leverage in negotiations with Senate Democrats because his ability to bring his conference together is in question. President Joe Biden has not yet expressed interest in engaging in discussions, despite his attempts to do so.
According to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, Congress and the White House already agreed this summer on top-line expenditure levels for the upcoming fiscal year, allowing the government to keep borrowing to cover its expenses.
By pandering to Republicans who claim it didn’t go far enough in cutting spending, McCarthy, he claimed, was departing from that agreement and inviting a shutdown. Speaker McCarthy, in the opinion of Schumer, “has made a shutdown far more likely” by concentrating on the opinions of a “radical few” as opposed to the “many.”
McCarthy reaffirmed to CNBC that the House would have a voice. Will I submit to the Senate’s decision and accept it? We are our own bodies, so the answer is no.
He acknowledged differences among members of his own conference, claiming that this has made passing appropriations measures challenging. He did, however, add that he was still in contact with Republicans who refused to back legislation for temporary funding.