A recent agreement struck by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy with the more conservative members of his party could potentially pave the way for a government shutdown later this year, according to a report from the Washington Examiner on Wednesday.
One of the demands McCarthy conceded to was maintaining appropriations bills at last year’s funding levels, significantly below the spending caps established in the recent debt limit negotiations between the speaker and President Joe Biden. This decision sets the stage for a clash, as Democrats in both the House and Senate are expected to propose higher spending levels in their budget proposals.
To avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass 12 separate spending bills before the September 30 deadline, with each bill requiring approval from both the House and Senate. Any deviation from the bipartisan debt ceiling agreement could face significant opposition, further complicating the situation.
Adding to the complexity is the upcoming resignation of Utah Republican Representative Chris Stewart in mid-September due to his wife’s health. This departure opens up a sought-after seat on the House Appropriations Committee, leading to potential chaos within the GOP. McCarthy’s critics are expected to seize this opportunity to secure a more prominent position at the negotiating table, including some of the conservative members who previously caused delays in legislative actions.
Democrats wasted no time criticizing the GOP’s change in stance, with Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar of California expressing dismay over the House Republican Conference’s apparent disarray. Aguilar highlighted that the speaker had personally made the agreement and accused him of reneging on the deal, despite the effort to exclude others from the negotiation process.
However, Republican leaders defended their actions, dismissing the notion that intraparty tensions were impeding House business. They argued that disagreements and tensions were to be expected given the GOP’s slim majority.
As the situation unfolds, the potential for a government shutdown becomes increasingly likely, as differing spending proposals and internal party dynamics threaten to hinder the smooth passage of crucial spending bills.