In a swift turn of events on Friday, House Republicans pushed forward a stopgap bill in a desperate bid to avert a looming government shutdown. But despite clearing a pivotal procedural hurdle, the party remains on shaky ground as a faction of hardline Republicans openly opposed the legislation.
The voting dust settled at 218-210, kickstarting fervent debates on the measure within the chamber. The anticipation builds for a final vote slated for Friday afternoon, marking a precarious juncture for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). McCarthy, aiming to solidify party unity, clinched a small victory in the procedural vote ahead of negotiations with their Democratic counterparts in the Senate and the White House.
The internal GOP battle, however, is far from over. At least eight House Republicans vocalized their dissent, with some adamantly refusing to endorse any form of continuing resolution. McCarthy, operating within the constraints of a razor-thin GOP majority, can ill-afford defections if he hopes to steer clear of a government shutdown debacle.
Even if the House Republicans manage to push the stopgap bill across the finish line, a looming shutdown on Saturday night seems increasingly likely. The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and the White House has already issued a stern veto threat.
The House GOP’s stopgap bill, unveiled on Friday morning, proposes extending funding until Oct. 31 while instituting across-the-board cuts of around 30 percent. Exceptions are made for national defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, and funding for disaster relief.
The bill also incorporates a significant portion of the party’s prominent border bill, H.R. 2, which addresses wall construction, the hiring of border agents, and restrictions on asylum access, among other provisions.
Adding another layer of complexity, the legislation pitches the creation of a fiscal commission charged with finding solutions to achieve a “sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio” and bring the federal budget into balance.
As the political drama unfolds, Republican anxiety is palpable, with fears intensifying over the potential fallout and public backlash. The specter of being blamed for a government shutdown looms large, adding a layer of urgency and tension to the already complex negotiations on Capitol Hill.