The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to try this week to approve dramatic budget cutbacks that have little chance of becoming law and might precipitate a partial government shutdown by next Sunday.
When Republicans hammered out a spending agreement with Democratic President Joe Biden this spring, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy hoped to prevent that situation. Some members of his own party, though, have vowed to overthrow him if he does not approve tougher cutbacks that would almost certainly be rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
If Congress does not give funds for the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of government workers would be furloughed, and a wide variety of services, from financial supervision to medical research, will be discontinued.
Typically, Congress misses that deadline and adopts interim budget bills to minimize interruption while they complete their work.
McCarthy, on the other hand, has been unable to rally support for a temporary funding extension because a group of conservative Republicans has refused to go along. Republicans have a slim 221-212 majority in the House and few votes to spare.
McCarthy has tabled the temporary package in favor of legislation reflecting conservative values.
When the House reconvenes on Tuesday, lawmakers will consider four spending bills for the upcoming fiscal year, including new restrictions on abortion access, undoing a $11 billion Biden administration climate initiative, and resuming construction of former President Donald Trump’s signature border wall with Mexico.
McCarthy stated that members who had previously blocked budget legislation were now more inclined to collaborate. “It appears that they are now willing to collaborate. So we could have a chance,” he told reporters on Monday.
These legislation are very guaranteed to be defeated in the Senate, and the White House has stated that Biden would veto two of them.
McCarthy has stated that he thinks the campaign would generate enough goodwill to allow him to pass a temporary bill to avert a government shutdown.
Representative Matt Gaetz, a vocal opponent of McCarthy, indicated on Sunday that he would not support a stopgap, even if it meant a government shutdown.
“It’s certainly not ideal if the departments of Labor and Education have to shut down for a few days while we get their appropriations in order.” But I believe it is preferable than remain on the current course,” he stated on Fox News.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, another hardliner, stated in a statement that she would not even support putting the funding measures up for consideration on the House floor since Ukraine aid is included.
Greene and other members of the House Freedom Caucus have advocated for a $1.47 trillion drop in agency spending, which is $120 billion less than Biden and McCarthy agreed to in their May deal.
This is merely a portion of the entire US budget, which will be $6.4 trillion this fiscal year. Cuts to popular benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare, which are expected to expand rapidly as the population ages, are not being considered by lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the Senate is set to vote on a stopgap budget bill on Tuesday. If it succeeds, McCarthy may be forced to rely on Democratic votes to avert a shutdown before Oct. 1, which will enrage his right side and perhaps jeopardize his position.
Bloomberg reported late Monday that Senate Republicans and Democrats were close to reaching an agreement on a short-term budget bill, citing a source familiar with the discussions.
Trump has asked Republicans to instigate a government shutdown in order to impede his two federal criminal proceedings. Criminal prosecutions, according to the Justice Department, would continue in the event of a shutdown.