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On The Verge Of Shutdown, McCarthy Shifts To a 45-Day Rescue Plan Hinging on Democratic Support



House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. (Photo: Imgur)

Facing imminent government shutdown, Speaker Kevin McCarthy made a significant shift on Saturday by attempting to pass a 45-day funding bill through the House, seeking support from Democrats. This strategic move, aimed at avoiding a federal closure, is not without risks, as it may jeopardize McCarthy’s position.

In the lead-up to the midnight deadline for government funding, Republican lawmakers held a closed-door meeting early in the morning. The proposed 45-day funding bill, if passed, would keep the government operational but entails leaving behind assistance for Ukraine, a stance opposed by a growing number of Republicans.

As the House geared up for a swift vote on the plan, a senior Republican, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, expressed the urgency of the situation, stating, “Our options are slipping away every minute.”

In the absence of a deal before Sunday, federal workers face furloughs, military personnel risk working without pay, and essential programs and services may face disruptions nationwide. The proposed House action involves funding the government at current 2023 levels for 45 days, along with provisions for U.S. disaster relief.

This unconventional approach relies on Democratic votes, leaving behind the right-wing faction, a move that hard-right lawmakers warn could imperil McCarthy’s speakership. Despite the threat of a motion to oust him, McCarthy remains steadfast, emphasizing the importance of the country.

The sudden pivot follows the collapse of McCarthy’s previous plan to pass a Republican-only bill with substantial spending cuts, rejected by the White House and Democrats as too extreme. Simultaneously, the Senate is preparing a rare Saturday session for its bipartisan package, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, aiming to fund the government through Nov. 17.

Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell emphasize the need for bipartisanship to avert a shutdown. McConnell warns hard-right colleagues about the unnecessary hardships a shutdown would impose on Americans.

The impending shutdown poses uncertainty for federal workers across the country, including troops, border control agents, office workers, scientists, and others. McCarthy’s attempts to engage with President Joe Biden have been dismissed by the White House, while his alignment with hard-right demands has faced criticism, even from within his party.

The dynamics of the situation reveal a tense political landscape, with McCarthy’s leadership at stake, and a complex negotiation process unfolding amidst the looming government shutdown.