Colleagues urge GOP holdouts not to cause 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.

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 continued presence of significant disagreements, Representative Matt Rosendale, a conservative from Montana, disregarded the news conference held by McCarthy’s supporters at the Capitol. He informed reporters that he remained steadfast in his stance.

When asked about his concerns regarding a possible shutdown, Rosendale responded by saying that life will continue as usual.

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 posed a threat of a shutdown that could potentially burden all Americans with its consequences.

“I cannot reword.”

Congress had mostly cleared out for the weekend as 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 conducted an uncommon Saturday meeting to initiate the setup for voting next week.

Congress has limited time to take action, but McCarthy is moving forward with a plan encouraged by his conservative supporters to begin voting on a portion 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 who were resisting by stating, “You must put an end to that.”

The problem lies in the House conservatives’ attempt to reverse the agreement made by McCarthy and Biden, which established the levels of government funding. They are adamant about implementing the reduced spending levels that McCarthy pledged to the Republican hardliners during his campaign for House speaker. However, this would necessitate significant budget reductions for government services and programs, a decision that even other Republicans are reluctant to support.

If McCarthy manages to gather enough Republican support 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, although there is uncertainty regarding whether he has enough votes to accomplish it.

Processing the large bills and numerous amendments typically requires a significant amount of time, ranging from weeks to even months. After receiving approval through round-the-clock voting in the House, these bills would then proceed to negotiations with the Senate, which has its own set of legislations.

A significant topic up for 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 would 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, guaranteeing a shutdown despite the former president’s encouragement.

McCarthy’s frustrated supporters utilized a megaphone on Saturday to present their argument to their fellow colleagues and to the American public observing the deadlock 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.

However, in the event that McCarthy aligns himself with Democrats, it is highly likely that Gaetz and other individuals will call for a vote to remove him from his position.


This report was contributed to by Aamer Madhani, a writer from the Associated Press.