U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy heads to the Republican caucus at the U.S. Capitol on September 20, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Dietch | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders adjourned the chamber Thursday, likely dashing hopes of passing a bill to fund the government within days.
The schedule change was an embarrassing failure for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California native who needs to unite a divided Republican caucus to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month.
Earlier in the day, the House failed to pass a bill that would set rules for debate on the Pentagon funding bill, which was scheduled for a final vote in the House later Thursday.
Rules votes typically serve as a rehearsal for the final vote, allowing leaders to gauge their support positions.
Pentagon funding bills have traditionally been approved by wide margins.
But the failure of the rules bill sent a stark message to House Republican leaders that they are not yet ready to caucus.
Throughout the day on Thursday, Republican members of both the House and Senate I stopped breathing To see what McCarthy and his lieutenants do next.
“We want to avoid this shutdown for as long as we can,” Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) told CNBC on Thursday.
“Mr. McCarthy is working with members of Congress to pass the most conservative bill that they can pass, which could also be passed in the Senate,” Mullin said.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), the House’s lead appropriations official, told reporters: “Losing appropriations starts a process where many of our very important things with the U.S. government will be shut down. It’s going to have an impact on people.” On Wednesday evening, he walked out of the Republican caucus.
During that meeting, Republicans largely agreed on the broad outlines of a CR that would cut the top line of government funding well below the level that McCarthy and President Joe Biden agreed to in last summer’s high-stakes debt ceiling negotiations. Ta.
The bill is also likely to include a number of poison pill provisions, including border security measures, but will not provide emergency funding to Ukraine, a key White House demand.
But whether such a bill could pass the House on a party-line vote was far from certain Thursday. Already, more Republicans than necessary to sink it have publicly voiced their opposition.
Meanwhile, House Democrats expressed a mix of frustration and schadenfreude this week as they watched their opponents struggle.
“We need to end the civil war because it is harming the American people,” House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York said at a press conference Thursday. “I’m not saying they all have to like each other. But we should be able to figure out a way to get the American people’s job done.”
On Thursday, September 21, 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrives at the Capitol with House Minority Leader Hakim Jeffries of New York (left) for a meeting with members of the House of Representatives.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call Inc. | Getty Images
Signs that the Federal Reserve intends to raise interest rates later this year and the ongoing United Auto Workers strike sent markets sharply lower on Thursday.
But throughout the day, investors said the government shutdown Reduce fourth quarter gross domestic product And more broadly, it would undermine the world’s confidence in the ability of the United States to continue to operate its government openly.
Even if it passes in what amounts to a legislative miracle next week, the Republican House CR will be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
As Washington neared a government shutdown Thursday, pressure mounted on Senate Democrats to develop their own bipartisan CR to fund the government through the end of the year. If the Senate passes the CR with 60 votes to prevent a filibuster, the bill will be sent to the House.
This scenario would present Mr. McCarthy with a new dilemma. It will face a new dilemma: vote Democratic or pass a bipartisan CR to keep the government running. If that happens, his conservative critics are likely to be furious and may try to remove McCarthy as speaker.
But as of Thursday, the battle still seemed miles away, as various factions inside and outside of Capitol Hill sought to influence Mr. McCarthy’s next steps.
The 64 members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, including 32 House Republicans, announced their own CR plan late Wednesday night. The compromise would set border security measures popular with Republicans and funding levels Democrats could support.
Pressuring Mr. McCarthy on the other side was former President Donald Trump, who urged his allies to push for a bill that would strip all funding from the federal agency that is prosecuting Mr. Trump on 44 criminal charges. encouraged Republican lawmakers.
“This is also our last chance to defund political prosecutions against me and other patriots,” President Trump wrote on Truth Social late Wednesday. Trump took aim at McCarthy, saying, “We failed on the debt limit, but we can’t fail now. Use the power of your wallet to protect our country!”
— CNBC chelsea cox Contributed to reporting from Washington.