Republicans Appeal to Far-Right Conservatives to Avert US Government Shutdown – With only one week left until Washington faces a funding crisis that could jeopardize the full operation of the federal government, the divisions within the Republican Party in the U.S. Congress remain evident, as they have not yet shown any inclination to unite and pass a temporary funding bill.
Up to this point, Congress has been unable to complete any of the 12 standard spending bills required to finance federal agency programs for the fiscal year commencing on October 1. This week, House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy intends to pursue an ambitious strategy aimed at securing the passage of four significant bills, which encompass military and homeland security funding.
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His goal is to showcase sufficient progress to gain the support of far-right Republicans for a stop-gap spending bill, commonly referred to as a continuing resolution (CR). Republican Representative Michael McCaul, a 19-year veteran of Congress who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, urged the group of party “holdouts” to stop blocking Republican-backed spending bills while at the same time “saying don’t bring bipartisan bills to the floor.”
“Republicans need to vote for Republican bills” to avert a shutdown, McCaul said on ABC’s “This Week” broadcast. But some of those “holdouts,” who want deep spending cuts that go beyond a deal passed earlier this year, showed no sign of relenting. “Continuing resolutions don’t solve the problem. They just kick the can down the road,” Republican Representative Tony Gonzalez told CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
Back in June, President Joe Biden enacted an expansion of U.S. borrowing capacity that had been negotiated with McCarthy. This expansion also entailed approximately $1.5 trillion in spending reductions over the course of a decade. The ultra-conservative faction of House Republicans, however, seeks to take this a step further by proposing an additional $120 billion in cuts specifically for the upcoming fiscal year.
These cuts could potentially impact a wide range of programs, spanning from education and environmental protection to Internal Revenue Service enforcement and medical research. Similarly, Republican Representative Tim Burchett told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he has never voted for a temporary funding bill and won’t this time around.
He warned that if McCarthy allows legislation to pass the House with Democratic support, “I would look strongly at” a move to strip McCarthy of his speakership. “This dysfunctional Washington cannot continue,” Burchett said, referring to the way Congress handles the federal budget, which is on a path to a $1.5 trillion deficit for the fiscal year that ends on Saturday.
During an ABC interview, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg cautioned that a government shutdown would compel his agency to promptly halt air traffic controller training programs. This would occur at a time when air travel is gradually returning to normalcy after experiencing a significant surge in flight delays and disruptions last year.
As for negotiations regarding a continuing resolution (CR), there was no immediate comment available from aides to McCarthy on whether discussions were ongoing on Sunday. McCarthy has been advocating for a 30-day bill to maintain the operation of federal offices. This proposal is coupled with a rigorous border security plan that would essentially curtail most immigration into the United States, a move being considered amid record numbers of individuals seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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Even some of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans made appeals on Sunday to their House counterparts, urging them to cease blocking the passage of a stop-gap bill. “We would like for the House to begin that process of sending us a CR to keep the government open and functioning,” Senator Marsha Blackburn told Fox Business News. Appealing to those conservatives’ eagerness for conducting investigations into Biden and some other top administration officials, Blackburn added: “If you shut down the government you can’t continue that.”