Colleagues urge GOP holdouts not to cause government shutdown amidst turmoil among 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.

In public overtures and private calls, Republican lieutenants of the embattled speaker pleaded with a handful of right-flank holdouts to resist further disruptions that have ground the House to a halt and back McCarthy’s latest plan to keep government open before next weekend’s Sept. 30 deadline for a shutdown.

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 who represents Montana, ignored the news conference held by McCarthy’s supporters at the Capitol and reiterated his unwavering stance to reporters.

When asked about his concerns regarding a possible shutdown, Rosendale replied, “Life will continue.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., talks with Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., before the 14th vote in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., talks with Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., before the 14th vote in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
via Associated Press

President Joe Biden criticized the “limited number of radical Republicans” who were endangering a potential shutdown that could impose consequences on all Americans.

“I cannot reword”

Congress had mostly cleared out for the weekend while the House came to a halt, and the White House directed federal agencies to start getting ready for a potential shutdown. The House Rules Committee held an uncommon 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 proceed with a plan suggested by his conservative supporters. 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 to the individuals who were resisting that they needed to cease their actions.

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. They are adamant about implementing the reduced spending levels that McCarthy had assured the Republican hardliners during his campaign for House speaker. However, this would necessitate significant budget reductions for government services and programs, which even other Republicans are reluctant to pursue.

If McCarthy manages to gain Republican backing to proceed with the initial four bills concerning the Defense Department, Homeland Security, Agriculture, and State and Foreign Operations next week, it will be a challenging and time-consuming endeavor, and there is no guarantee that he will have enough votes to accomplish it.

Processing large bills and numerous amendments typically requires a significant amount of time, often spanning weeks or even months. After approval through round-the-clock voting in the House, these bills would then undergo negotiations with the Senate, which has its own separate legislation.

A major topic of discussion will involve efforts by supporters of Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for the 2024 presidential election, to remove financial support for the conflict in Ukraine.

Next week, if the floor debate continues for a long time, 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 will ensure that the government remains funded 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 strongly suggests that a shutdown is inevitable, especially with the former president encouraging 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 Congressional deadlock.

Graves stated that individuals have the ability to come up with unrealistic solutions. He firmly believes that anyone claiming that we will complete all 12 appropriations bills by Saturday is completely delusional.

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 from the Associated Press.