WASHINGTON — With nine days left in the House to avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers remain mired in spending fights and appear no closer to a resolution.
At issue: a government shutdown that could disrupt the lives of Americans and affect national operations. Adding to the complications is new pressure on the Republican Party from the party’s presidential favorite, Donald Trump, who says he favors a shutdown.
And at the center of it all: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
As McCarthy tries to satisfy hardline Republicans who need to reach a deal to avoid a shutdown, Democrats and other moderate Republicans are putting pressure on the top leader as the Sept. 30 deadline approaches.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned House Republicans on Tuesday that a government shutdown would hurt the Republican Party.
“I think you all know I’m not a fan of government shutdowns, I’ve seen a few over the years, they’ve never produced any policy change and they’ve always been a lose-lose for the Republicans, politically”, McConnell told reporters.
Here is the House’s position on the spending fight:
Trump adds pressure to Republicans and says he favors government shutdown
Trump warned Republicans in a Truth Social article Wednesday evening about the impending government shutdown and urged them to take action against the Biden administration.
“A very important deadline is approaching at the end of the month. Republicans in Congress can and must roll back every aspect of Joe Biden’s militarized government, which refuses to close the border and treats half the country like enemies of the state,” Trump wrote.
He also wrote: “They failed on the debt limit, but they must not fail now. Use the power of the purse and defend the country!
Earlier this week, Kristen Welker asked Trump on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he thought Republican hardliners should abandon their threat to shut down the government over spending priorities now that McCarthy had opened an impeachment inquiry against Biden.
“No. I think if they don’t get a fair deal, we have to save our country. We’re $35 trillion in debt. We have to save our country,” Trump said.
After Welker asked him if he favored a government shutdown, he responded, “I would shut down the government if they can’t come to a proper deal, absolutely.” »
McCarthy backs away from interim spending measure, known as continuing resolution, but will others?
Earlier this week, two key factions of House Republicans, the conservative House Freedom Caucus and the moderate Main Street Caucus, crafted a short-term stopgap measure called a continuing resolution that would temporarily fund the government through October 31.
The bill would impose an 8% cut in spending on most federal agencies and include border security provisions that have been on conservatives’ wish lists.
But the question remains whether the resolution will pass the House, as a number of Republicans have opposed the deal, as well as the Democratic-led Senate, as it does not include provisions for aid to Ukraine.
McCarthy vowed Wednesday he would
has rallied colleagues to pass the temporary measure and argued it was time to convince hard-line conservatives, according to the Associated Press. But after a two-hour closed-door meeting yesterday, it barely got closer to a resolution.
“We’re very close there,” McCarthy said. “I feel like I just have a little more movement to go.”
House tensions further divide MPs as time runs out
As the government shutdown deadline approaches, Democrats have also begun discussions with other moderate Republicans about a fallback plan if the stopgap bill fails.
“We’ll see if this isn’t resolved,” Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., told USA TODAY on Tuesday. “I don’t believe in cuts, I’ll tell you that.”
The New Democratic Coalition also sent a letter to McCarthy on Tuesday urging him to advance spending bills on a bipartisan basis and asking him to “reject the hyperpartisan approach.”
If a shutdown occurs, various government operations could be affected. Federal employees considered essential, such as air traffic controllers and border patrol officers, will continue to work without pay while other employees could be furloughed. Some food safety inspections considered non-essential may also be delayed and national parks will operate on a limited basis.
Contributor: Ken Tran and Associated Press