Colleagues urge GOP holdouts not to cause a government shutdown amidst turmoil within House Republicans.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Working furiously to take control of a House in disarray, allies of Speaker Kevin McCarthy implored their Republican colleagues Saturday to drop their hardline tactics and work together to approve a conservative spending plan to prevent a federal shutdown.
Republican leaders, both publicly and privately, urged a few conservative members to stop causing disruptions and support McCarthy’s new plan to prevent a government shutdown before the upcoming September 30 deadline.
Republican Rep. Garrett Graves of Louisiana said the holdouts are “absolutely hallucinating” if they think they can wrap up work without the need for a temporary measure that many of them have shunned before time runs out.
“After a conference call with lawmakers on Saturday afternoon, Graves emphasized the significance of ensuring that we take all necessary measures to prevent a government shutdown.”
However, indicating the ongoing divisions, Rep. Matt Rosendale, a conservative holdout from Montana, ignored the news conference held by McCarthy’s supporters at the Capitol. He informed reporters that he still stood firm in his position.
When asked about his concerns regarding a possible shutdown, Rosendale replied, “Life will continue.”
President Joe Biden criticized the “limited number of radical Republicans” who posed a threat of a shutdown that could potentially impact all Americans financially.
“I cannot reword”
Congress had mostly cleared out for the weekend as the House came to a halt, and the White House directed government agencies to start getting ready for a potential shutdown. The House Rules Committee conducted an unusual Saturday meeting to initiate the preparations for the upcoming week’s voting.
Congress is running out of time to take action, but McCarthy is determined to move forward with a plan supported by his conservative colleagues. This plan involves initiating voting on a few of the twelve bills required to finance different government departments.
Under the current strategy, the House would start voting as soon as Tuesday to advance some of the dozen bills needed to fund the government. Then, with time running short, the House would turn toward a stopgap measure to keep government open for about a month while work continues.
“I cannot reword”
McCarthy conveyed his message to the individuals refusing to comply, stating: “You must cease that behavior.”
The matter at hand pertains to the House conservatives’ efforts to reverse the agreement made by McCarthy and Biden earlier this year regarding government funding levels. These conservatives are adamant about implementing the reduced spending levels that McCarthy had pledged to the Republican hardliners in January when vying for the position of House speaker. However, this would necessitate significant budget reductions in government services and programs, which even other Republicans are reluctant to undertake.
If McCarthy manages to gather enough support from Republicans, he may be able to proceed with the first four bills for the Defense Department, Homeland Security, Agriculture, and State and Foreign Operations next week. However, it is unclear whether he has enough votes to accomplish this, making the task quite challenging.
Processing the large bills and numerous amendments typically requires a significant amount of time, ranging from weeks to even months. After receiving approval through extensive round-the-clock voting in the House, these bills would then proceed to negotiations with the Senate, which has its own set of legislations.
Allies of Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential race, are advocating for amendments to remove funding for the war in Ukraine. This topic is expected to generate significant debate.
Next week, as the floor debate continues, McCarthy and his supporters are urging the hesitant individuals to be ready to contemplate a temporary solution known as a continuing resolution (CR). This measure aims to ensure government funding is maintained while negotiations persist.
His plan is for the CR to be at lower levels than the government currently spends, and it would include provisions important to Republicans, including to beef up border security and establish a new debt commission.
However, several individuals, including Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a prominent supporter of Trump, have made it clear that they will not support any CR. This greatly increases the likelihood of a shutdown, especially as the former president encourages them to do so.
McCarthy’s frustrated supporters utilized a megaphone on Saturday to present their argument to their fellow colleagues and to the American public observing the confrontation in Congress.
“I cannot reword”
The other option is for McCarthy to work with Democrats to pass a continuing resolution with their votes, and the Senate is preparing such a bipartisan measure that could be sent to the House in a matter of days.
If McCarthy aligns himself with Democrats, it is highly likely that Gaetz and other members will vote to remove him from his position.
This report was contributed to by Aamer Madhani, a writer for the Associated Press.