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Politics

Kevin McCarthy’s Catch-22 at a standstill

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If, instead, McCarthy passes a continuing bipartisan resolution to keep the government open, it will likely jeopardize his presidency by decisively turning the House’s hardline conservatives against him. A motion to quash is inevitable.

Over the weekend, McCarthy deployed his latest attempt to move away from an embarrassing period where members of his own party left plan after plan in tatters, overturning two procedural votes and mocking his ability to lead the House GOP.

The new plan involves bundling together several appropriations bills for an entire year and trying to advance them through the House, bowing to the wishes of Gaetz and other hard-liners.

At first glance, this is a strategy that leads nowhere.

There’s no guarantee that McCarthy will be able to muster the votes to move forward — in fact, you’d have to bet against it, especially after a prominent ally, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) , announced Sunday that it remains a “categorical no”.

And even if Republicans moved forward with the bills for the entire year, it wouldn’t prevent a government shutdown next weekend. Gaetz and a handful of like-minded extremists insist they will not vote for any continuing resolution to temporarily keep the government open — even one that would include a 27% reduction in non-defense spending.

McCarthy, meanwhile, has shown no signs he is willing to move forward with a CR that could pass with Democratic votes, lest the far-right rebellion turn into a full-blown mutiny.

So what exactly is McCarthy doing here? The conventional wisdom among Republicans we spoke to is that he hopes to develop enough goodwill among pro-MAGA members that they will eventually agree to adopt a conservative-leaning CR before the shutdown.

Of course, even McCarthy’s closest allies know that relying on Gaetz & Co. to suddenly embrace a stopgap is a risky proposition — and that was before former President Donald Trump launched into Truth Social Sunday night to strengthen the GOP: “UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING.” , CLOSE IT!”

However, what the latest piece will do is continue to drive a wedge within the far-right bloc itself.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus who negotiated a potential Republican CR last week began expressing real irritation with their colleagues, like Gaetz, who immediately rejected it.

“I honestly don’t know what to say to my fellow Republicans other than you’re going to eat a crappy sandwich, and you probably deserve to eat it,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Fox News this week last – notably shifting his anger from McCarthy to his hard-line comrades.

A split on the right could be McCarthy’s best hope of surviving what most House Republicans now view as an inevitability: a vote on ousting McCarthy as speaker. Granting even more concessions to conservatives, it is believed, will allow him to make the case to his members that the rebels are simply relentless – and unmanageable for any speaker.

And therein lies the impasse: This week’s progress might actually be worse for McCarthy on this score.

“The worst thing that could happen to Kevin is for him to embrace something,” said Brendan Buck, a veteran of far-right rebellions as a senior aide to then-Presidents Paul Ryan and John Boehner.

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