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Thursday, May 23, 2024

House GOP Contemplates Short-Term Spending Measure to Prevent Shutdown

To avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, House Republicans debated a new stopgap funding proposal on Sunday, but it was highly unlikely that the plan, which would slash spending for most federal agencies and resurrect tough Trump-era border initiatives, would break the deep impasse on Capitol Hill.

The legislation was presented to lawmakers in a conference call on Sunday night and was the latest attempt by House Republican leaders to find a way out of a daunting funding logjam that has left their plans to consider annual spending bills last week in chaos and has put Congress on a path to a government shutdown on October 1.

The House proposal was developed through negotiations between conservative and moderate Republicans in an effort to find a middle ground that would satisfy both groups in order to avoid a politically perilous government shutdown while still meeting the demands of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus for spending reductions and tighter border controls. But its passage in the House was in severe question as concerns were swiftly voiced by several Republicans, and it was almost guaranteed to be dead on arrival in the Democratically controlled Senate even if it made it through the House.

The proposed temporary plan extends funding until October 31 and imposes a nearly 8% expenditure reduction on most federal departments while exempting the Pentagon, veterans programmes, and disaster assistance, for an overall loss of around 1%. With the exception of the E-Verify job verification system, which has been criticised from several angles, it would be quite similar to a severe immigration legislation enacted by the House in May.

According to members who participated in the conference call and detailed the meeting on the condition of anonymity, Mr. McCarthy warned House Republicans that they could not win a battle with the Senate if they could not pass a measure themselves.

Mr. McCarthy and his leadership team face an impasse because some of the most conservative House Republicans have stated they would never support for a temporary measure, also known as a continuing resolution.

beyond last week’s private discussions with House Republicans, the speaker, who is facing demands from the extreme right for his departure for his handling of the budget bills, restated his belief that Congress must prevent a government shutdown beyond September 30. He claimed that his own personal experience with government shutdowns had taught him that they should be avoided if possible and that a shutdown would give President Biden an advantage.

Last week, the House and Senate ran into roadblocks in their attempts to approve year-long spending legislation, as the appropriations process was thrown off track by far-right Republicans.

Since Mr. McCarthy failed to keep spending commitments and honour other concessions he made to secure their votes for the speakership during his 15-round battle for the job in January, the far right has threatened to move to remove him from the top House post. Despite the threats, the speaker vowed to remain focused on the budget standoff and do his best to save his position.

Last week, some moderate Republicans voiced their displeasure with the extreme element of their party for trying to delay the spending legislation and urged Mr. McCarthy to bring the Pentagon bill to the floor. New York Republican leadership member Rep. Elise Stefanik said Sunday that she and the majority of her caucus “believe the speaker will survive any type of motion” to oust him from office.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Democratic leader and New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries called the Republican infighting over spending a “civil war,” but he refused to declare whether or not the Democrats would back Mr. McCarthy in the event of a floor battle.

A Boyle
A Boyle
I cover Science related topics for The National Era
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