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US shutdown moves ever closer as McCarthy digs in over stopgap deal

 


US shutdown moves ever closer as McCarthy digs in over stopgap deal


Republican House speaker says he will not take up Senate bill to keep government running despite his party’s lack of an alternative

A government shutdown appeared all but inevitable as the House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, dug in on Thursday, vowing he will not take up Senate legislation designed to keep the federal government fully running despite House Republicans’ struggle to unite around an alternative.

Congress is at an impasse just days before a disruptive federal shutdown that would halt paychecks for many of the federal government’s roughly 2 million employees, as well as 2 million active-duty military troops and reservists, furlough many of those workers and curtail government services.

But the House and Senate are pursuing different paths to avert those consequences, even though time is running out before government funding expires after midnight on Saturday.

The Senate is working toward passage of a bipartisan measure that would fund the government until 17 November as longer-term negotiations continue, while also providing $6bn for Ukraine and $6bn for US disaster relief.

The House, meanwhile, has teed up votes on four of the dozen annual spending bills that fund various agencies in hopes that would cajole enough Republicans to support a House-crafted continuing resolution that temporarily funds the government and boosts security at the US border with Mexico. It’s a long shot, but McCarthy predicted a deal.

“Put your money on me; we’re going to get this done,” he said in a CNBC interview. “I think we can work through the weekend. I think we can figure this out.”

Lawmakers were already weary from days of late-night negotiating. The strain was evident at McCarthy’s closed-door meeting with Republicans on Thursday morning, which was marked by a tense exchange between the speaker and Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, according to those in the room.

Gaetz, who has taunted McCarthy for weeks with threats to oust him from his post, confronted the speaker about conservative online influencers being paid to post negative things about him. McCarthy shot back that he wouldn’t waste his time on something like that, Gaetz told reporters as he exited the meeting.

McCarthy’s allies left the meeting fuming about Gaetz’s tactics.

With his majority splintering, McCarthy is scrambling to come up with a plan for preventing a shutdown and win Republican support. The speaker told Republicans he would reveal a Republican stopgap plan, known as a continuing resolution, or CR, on Friday, according to those in the room, while also trying to force Senate Democrats into giving some concessions.

But with time running out, many GOP lawmakers were withholding support for a temporary measure until they had a chance to see it. Others are considering joining Democrats, without McCarthy’s support, to bring forward a bill that would prevent a shutdown.

With his ability to align his conference in doubt, McCarthy has little standing to negotiate with Senate Democrats. He has also attempted to draw Joe Biden into negotiations, but the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, said Congress and the White House had already worked out top-line spending levels for next year with an agreement this summer that allowed the government to continue borrowing to pay its bills.

McCarthy was deviating from that deal and courting a shutdown by catering to Republicans who said it didn’t do enough to cut spending, he said.

“By focusing on the views of the radical few instead of the many, speaker McCarthy has made a shutdown far more likely,” Schumer said.

Biden also sought to apply more pressure on McCarthy, urging him to compromise with Democrats even though that could threaten his job.

“I think that the speaker is making a choice between his speakership and American interests,” Biden said.

The White House, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, notified staff on Thursday to prepare for a shutdown, according to emails obtained by the Associated Press. Employees who are furloughed would have four hours on Monday to prepare their offices for the shutdown.


(Uknews).        ( Democracy)

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