GOP Expects McCarthy to Toe the Line When Negotiating Shutdown Deal

( – Yet again, the US faces the risk of a government shutdown unless Congress can agree on a new funding deal. Conservative lawmakers are pushing for next year’s federal spending to be cut back to 2022 levels — and they don’t want any fudged deal that would let Biden keep borrowing money while a proper solution is agreed upon. The stand-off is now causing growing tension between the House speaker and some of his GOP colleagues.

McCarthy Tries to Compromise

Right now, the federal government’s funding runs out on September 30. Unless new financial legislation is agreed on by October 1, we’re facing the fourth government shutdown in 10 years. The problem is there’s a yawning gap between what the Biden administration wants to spend and what fiscal conservatives will vote to authorize.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hopes he can negotiate a short-term deal that will keep the government running until a proper spending bill can be put together, but many in his own party are taking a harder line.

The House Freedom Caucus, led by Representative Scott Perry (R-PA), is the most right-wing group in the House Republican Conference — and it’s had enough of Biden’s incontinent spending. In exchange for agreeing to an extension to the debt limit, the group is insisting that the 2024 federal budget be capped at the same level as 2022’s, setting a hard limit of $1.47 trillion. It’s also calling for increased spending on the military, veterans’ benefits and border security, so meeting this goal would call for massive cuts of up to 25% in many areas of government spending.

There’s no chance of Democrats signing up to the Freedom Caucus plan, which means there’s also no chance of it getting through the Senate. But while the group can’t get its way, it’s also a major roadblock to any other solution. McCarthy and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) want to avoid a shutdown and push the deadline for agreeing a spending bill back to the start of December. That means agreeing to a so-called Continuing Resolution.

The Freedom Caucus is strongly opposed to a Continuing Resolution, though. They want to force a showdown now and start the painful process of bringing government spending back under control. McCarthy’s problem is that the GOP only has a House majority of four seats, while the Freedom Caucus has 45 members. Without their support, he has no chance of getting a Continuing Resolution through the lower chamber. Unless the administration agrees to end its spending spree, an October shutdown is looking very likely.

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