Republican hardliners on Tuesday dealt House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plans to avert an Oct. 1 US government shutdown twin blows, further ratcheting up the risk of a disruptive federal funding lapse.
(Bloomberg) — Republican hardliners on Tuesday dealt House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s plans to avert an Oct. 1 US government shutdown twin blows, further ratcheting up the risk of a disruptive federal funding lapse.
Amid backlash from his right flank, McCarthy abruptly canceled plans to advance a short-term spending bill that would fund the government for 31 days while changing US immigration rules and cutting domestic agencies by 8%.
Later in the day, five ultraconservatives, in protest of the broader spending negotiations, joined Democrats to block consideration of a military spending package laden with conservative priorities.
“I won’t give up,” McCarthy told reporters afterward. “I like a challenge.”
But some veteran House Republicans concede it may be time to start negotiating with Democrats to get a bill that can pass both the House and the Democratic-led Senate.
“There are 200 of us being dragged around by five of them,” Idaho Republican Mike Simpson said of the Republicans who voted against the defense bill.
Behind the scenes, McCarthy’s lieutenants conducted hours of meetings with far-right holdouts over possible additional spending cuts to win their support.
Members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus say they’re discussing a backup plan to keep the government open using a bill stripped of ultra-conservatives demands. McCarthy, who controls the House floor, would either need to acquiesce to the plan or they would need to use of a lengthy petition process to force a vote on the bill.
If McCarthy were to permit a bipartisan approach, ultraconservatives could move to oust him.
Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger was especially glum about the funding impasse and state of the House GOP.
“It’s terrible. Worst I’ve ever seen,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called McCarthy’s spending proposal, which includes spending cuts and tougher immigration policies, a “nonstarter.”
“It is slapdash, it reckless, it is cruel,” Schumer added.
–With assistance from Laura Litvan and Roxana Tiron.
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