House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing a difficult situation as he tries to rally his unruly Republican majority to approve a temporary House measure to prevent a government shutdown. While the Senate is taking a bipartisan approach by pushing for a funding bill, McCarthy is asking his right-flank Republicans to support a far-right bill that has been rejected by both Democrats and his own party members. Despite being pressed on how he plans to pass a spending plan that even his own party doesn’t want, McCarthy remains determined to find a solution. The government shutdown deadline is fast approaching, leaving millions of federal workers and Americans who rely on the government in a precarious position.
President Joe Biden, while acknowledging the possibility of a government shutdown, remains hopeful that a resolution can be reached. However, he accused McCarthy of choosing between his speakership and American interests. McCarthy has been demanding a meeting about border security measures with Biden, but with little leverage left, his attempts haven’t been successful. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned of the extreme right-wing elements that seem to support a government shutdown, while Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed with him and urged House colleagues to consider the bipartisan Senate bill. The clock is ticking, and with options running out, McCarthy is resorting to reviving the border security package, although he still faces opposition within his own ranks.
As Congress approaches the deadline for funding, McCarthy is struggling to convince his hard-right members to support any temporary spending bill. Several members are holding out for a debate and passage of all 12 individual funding bills for government agencies, which may not happen in time to prevent a shutdown. McCarthy is trying to shift blame to Biden and the Democrats for not addressing the immigration debate surrounding the influx of migrants at the Southern border. However, the holdouts remain determined, willing to cause a shutdown if necessary. The House has been debating and voting on separate funding bills, with resistance against war funding growing among Republicans. Late at night, Republicans made a stunning maneuver to strip $300 million in Ukraine aid from the Defense bill, despite it already being decided earlier, which has been criticized by Democrats. Lawmakers are prepared to work through the weekend, but the threat of a government shutdown looms over Congress. McCarthy’s position as Speaker of the House could be at risk if he aligns with Democrats, as the hard-right threatens to oust him. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump is encouraging Republicans to fight for steep spending cuts and threaten a shutdown if their demands are not met.