HomeWorldSpeaker Kevin McCarthy says he’ll keep House in Saturday as key Republican warns of shutdown ‘s–t sandwich’
Speaker Kevin McCarthy says he’ll keep House in Saturday as key Republican warns of shutdown ‘s–t sandwich’
September 20, 2023
Hopefully, members of the House of Representatives don’t have any weekend plans.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday that he intends to keep lawmakers in DC for a rare Saturday session as Republicans bicker over how to fend off a partial government shutdown set to begin at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30.
Congress was slated to adjourn for the weekend on Thursday, but that is set to change as tensions rise among the GOP over the fate of a 30-day stopgap spending bill.
“I honestly don’t know what to say to my fellow Republicans other than you’re gonna eat a s–t sandwich, and you probably deserve to eat it,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Fox News Wednesday about opposition to the continuing resolution from within the Republican conference.
“I’m an equal opportunity basher of stupid, and I think this is stupid,” added Roy, who supports the deal hashed out over the weekend between the conservative Freedom Caucus and the centrist Main Street Caucus.
Under the measure, Congress would pass a stopgap continuing resolution to keep the government open through Oct. 31 in exchange for an 8% spending cut from current levels to agencies other than the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs.
It also includes provisions meant to ramp up border security, including continuing construction of the Trump wall and authorizing the hiring of 22,000 more Border Patrol agents.
But nearly a dozen House Republican lawmakers are crying foul, citing a lack of promised spending cuts.
Many holdouts want Congress to fulfill its obligation of funding the government for the next fiscal year via the traditional 12 separate appropriations bills. But both parties agree Congress won’t have enough time to get those bills ready without an extension.
So far, the House has only passed one of those 12 bills. A vote to advance a defense spending bill went up in flames on the floor Tuesday afternoon.
“I think it’s disrespectful to our active duty, to our veterans and our current service members. They deserve better than this from Congress,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) complained after that vote.
McCarthy can only afford to lose four vote and still pass legislation along party lines.
If moderate Republicans turn to Democrats for help passing a continuing resolution, the latter would likely push the GOP to stick to the top-line budgeting numbers agreed upon during the debt ceiling fight in May and pass an aid package to Ukraine worth more than $20 billion.
Additionally, the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus has been reportedly mulling a plan of its own.
If McCarthy were to rely on Democrats, he could put his speakership in jeopardy.
Last week, his chief antagonist, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) threatened to move a motion to oust McCarthy if he didn’t agree to a series of demands — including subpoenaing first son Hunter Biden.
Meanwhile, the Senate also has yet to pass an appropriations bill and was unable Wednesday to advance a so-called “minibus” package of three spending measures funding agriculture and military construction, transportation and housing, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In a 49-48 vote, the Senate failed to overcome the 60-vote threshold to break the filibuster and move the bill forward.
All 12 appropriations bills on the Senate’s docket have already cleared the Appropriations Committee and hew closer to the $1.59 trillion top-line figure set out in the debt limit deal.
That puts the Senate at odds with the House, where McCarthy has buckled to pressure from his right flank to shoot for lower spending levels.
Notably, House Republicans’ opening offer in the debt ceiling saga earlier this year was to cap discretionary expenditures at $1.471 trillion.
Against the backdrop of the spending melee, the deficit is burgeoning.
A recent analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projected the annual deficit could explode to around $2 trillion for fiscal year 2023, up from $1.4 trillion for fiscal year 2022.