On Friday a bipartisan coalition of staunch conservatives and Democrats voted against the House Republicans’ stopgap funding bill, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown over the weekend.
The bill, which was intended to prevent the shutdown, failed to pass with a 198 to 232 vote. Notably, 21 Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), voted against the bill.
If the House and Senate fail to reach an agreement by the end of September 30, a partial shutdown would ensue, causing all nonessential federal functions to come to a standstill. The outcome serves as a significant setback for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has been grappling with challenges within his own Republican party throughout the spending battle.
The House GOP’s proposal for a Continuing Resolution included provisions to reduce spending for its month-long duration to fiscal 2022 levels, which is approximately $130 billion less than the current year’s budget. The proposal also incorporated elements from the House Republicans’ border security bill.
McCarthy and his allies have been trying to sway the dissenters by accusing them of aligning with Democrats and giving Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the White House more leverage in passing government funding without conservative policy riders.
“I have sympathy with Speaker McCarthy. He’s in a difficult position,” Schumer remarked earlier this month. He further criticized those in the GOP as being “way off the deep end,” accusing them of having no genuine interest in aiding the American people and being solely focused on their political agendas.
After the vote, CNN discussed the public’s perception of the looming government shutdown. The analysis revealed that a plurality of respondents, 39%, would blame President Joe Biden or the Democrats in Congress for a shutdown, while 33% would blame the GOP in Congress.
Interestingly, when combining the blame for Biden and congressional Democrats, they receive more blame than the Republicans in Congress. This pattern deviates from previous shutdowns where the Republicans were predominantly blamed, such as in 1995-96, 2013, and 2018-19.
Reports emerged earlier that Gaetz had actively collaborated with Democratic members of Congress in an effort to oust McCarthy. Sources close to the situation revealed that he was in discussions with various members across the aisle. The news came amidst a backdrop of heightened political tension in Congress, with Republicans grappling with internal division and the challenges of newfound bipartisan cooperation.
According to Politico, Gaetz was privately approaching House Democrats to rally support for his efforts to remove McCarthy from the position of Speaker of the House.
Among the Democrats, Gaetz even reached out to the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Jayapal confirmed her conversation with Gaetz, stating that the Progressive Caucus has no intentions of saving McCarthy. She also emphasized the need to address the imminent government shutdown before considering any moves against the Speaker.
“He’s been talking to everybody about it,” Jayapal said to Politico. “I told him in our caucus, in the Progressive Caucus, we’re not planning to save McCarthy — for a whole host of reasons. And so, we really need to get through the shutdown first.”