As Shutdown Looms, Questions Mount About How Much Leverage GOP Holds

House Republicans have so far failed in their efforts to push through government funding measures that play to the influence of the party that controls just one-third of the government, and in September With the 30th deadline just days away, several conservative leaders are concerned. Republicans could have blown it.

All in all, House Republicans have collectively announced that for the first time in decades (since 1995 to be exact), 12 separate funds will be used to fund the entire government through 12 different vehicles, rather than one large vehicle such as a jitney or bus. The goal is to pass a spending bill. Another comprehensive funding bill for the entire government or large portions of it. Conservatives have been fighting for this for a long time, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed to it in his election for speaker earlier this year. They believe that by splitting government funding into 12 separate bills, conservatives will have more leverage in fighting for access to the bill. Funding brinkmanship as leverage with Democrats to achieve policy change.

Before recessing in August, House Republicans had only passed one of 12 bills in the House, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MILCON) appropriations bill. It passed 219-211 in late July. The farm spending bill was supposed to be introduced second, but disagreements between factions in the Republican conference over spending levels forced Republican leaders to halt the bill for the time being, and then Congress passed the bill in August. The plan was to suspend the recess and bring these disputes into full swing in 2018. I’ve been serious since I came back.

When the House returned from its August recess in early September, Speaker Kevin McCarthy initially tried to push through a so-called continuing resolution (CR in DC parlance) that would fund the government through early December. The move would have bought House Republicans time to pass the remaining 11 spending bills this fall in September, October, and November — as long as the Senate agreed and the president signed them. However, these plans were suddenly withdrawn. A group of House conservative hardliners, many of whom opposed McCarthy in the race for speakership, threatened to block his CR plan.

WASHINGTON DC – MAY 23: U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks to reporters as he returns from a House Republican caucus meeting, May 23, 2023 in Washington, DC, US Captions. US President Joe Biden and Mr McCarthy met yesterday to discuss raising the debt ceiling to avoid a federal default. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

So Mr. McCarthy went back to square one, giving Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, the power to negotiate a different CR with the moderates on the other side of the conference, called the Main Street Partnership. gave. They developed a plan that was successful and supported. That plan would have funded the government through the end of October instead of early December and included many of the tougher immigration provisions included in House Republicans’ messaging bill, HR2. The idea among conservatives like Perry who supported it was that if the House was going to fight the Senate and the White House over shutdowns and funding, it would be on immigration, the Republican’s biggest issue. Ta. Clearly, American cities are now being torn apart by immigrants, with even the governor of Massachusetts declaring a state of emergency and the governor of New York saying there is no more room for immigrants in hotels in the Empire State.

What Republicans were trying to do at this point was simple. The idea was to pass this CR, negotiated by the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, to obstruct the Senate and make it clear that if there was a shutdown, it would be the Senate’s fault. And in the meantime, it will return to passing 11 other spending bills, starting with funding for the Pentagon. However, several hardliners led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) have announced that they will not support any CR under any circumstances, and that group has twice killed the Pentagon spending bill. And then these best-laid plans fell apart again. This transaction too.

U.S. Representative-elect Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives on the third day of the House Speaker election at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 5, 2023. The House is voting to choose the next speaker after House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed to get more than 218 votes in several rounds. This is the first time in 100 years that a chairperson was not elected on the first ballot. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The current situation is that House Republicans, at Gaetz’s request during a meeting with McCarthy this week, abandoned the CR negotiated by immigration-friendly Perry and returned to passing only the original 12 spending bills. Reaching that goal by the end of next week seems nearly impossible, and a government shutdown is likely.

The Pentagon funding bill is very likely to be back on track early next week, but one of its biggest problems was its inclusion of $300 million in funding for Ukraine. This prompted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), usually a staunch ally of Mr. McCarthy, to vote against the bill’s rules, preventing it from being considered and passed in the House. Ta. Ms. Greene released a video on Friday in which she angrily explained how she would vote for a Pentagon spending plan that did not include funds for Ukraine, and Ms. McCarthy said: According to reports Agreed to remove it ahead of further promotion next week.

As this unfolds, several moderate House Republicans, led by Rep. Michael Lawler (R-N.Y.), who represents a district won by Democratic President Joe Biden, are threatening to sign their resignations. . The measure, prepared by House Democrats, would fully fund the government through the CR at current levels until mid-January 2024. Lawler has at least one other Republican willing to sign the Democratic expulsion petition. according to In an interview with NBC News and Hugh Hewitt on Friday morning, he named two others who he believes will join the push if the time comes. Assuming all House Democrats sign such an expulsion petition, 218 signatures could force a vote in the House by a privileged resolution that bypasses the Speaker, which would require at least four other Republicans to do so. I need to join Mr. Lawler. The House Problem Solvers, a bipartisan group whose members include dozens of Republicans, has been spearheading this idea. This outcome could come as the Sept. 30 deadline approaches without a solution from House Republicans to get the bill through the Democratic-controlled Senate and signed into law by a Democratic president. Sexuality increases.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gaetz has been considering for weeks the possibility of using his own privileged resolution (a so-called motion to vacate the chair) to remove Mr. McCarthy from office in the midst of all this. For that to succeed, Mr. Gates would need nearly all, if not all, House Democrats to vote in favor of Mr. McCarthy in his bid to remove Mr. McCarthy, but there is no certainty either way. But then he would have to close the gap with Republicans as well to reach 218 votes. vote.House Democratic Leader Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, told Politico Playbook on Friday morning that she and other Democrats plan to save McCarthy or help Gaetz, but she is not sure if House Democrats price is steep: Among other things, they want to formally end the nascent impeachment inquiry against Biden over corruption related to his family’s business dealings.

Rank-and-file House Republicans are also fed up with the antics of people like Gaetz, and some have been vocal about their displeasure with the behavior.

“I think there are some people who would prefer to be in the eternal minority, no doubt about it,” said Rep. French Hill (R-Arkansas). Said For example, CNBC. “When I joined Congress when John Boehner was speaker, the convention was to bring the bill to the House that received a majority. And, well, we tried to do that. Now, We’ve got the Tiranny of the Tiny. A few people who are stopping the majority from putting forward more conservative policies in design and price.”

One of the moderate negotiators, Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), said: Said NewsNation He finds it all baffling.

“I negotiated with some of my colleagues, and they negotiated in good faith,” Armstrong said. “But if you can’t control the vote within the micro-world of the conference, I don’t see how you can blame the chair for not being able to control that vote.”

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), who served as former President Donald Trump’s Interior secretary, said the deal conservatives are getting is better than what they got in previous negotiations.

“Here’s the irony: Mr. McCarthy reached a consensus on the spending bill and said we all would do it — move forward with 12 spending bills, introduce open amendments, work on them, and rein in spending. –These spending bills are actually lower than what was agreed upon,” Zinke said, according to CNN. “In some cases it’s so low that it’s right that the goal line is changed, but there will be a few people who won’t vote for anything.”

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), went further, saying these members were acting like Democrats.

“We are mischaracterizing these people as conservatives. Conservatives are overwhelmingly voting for Kevin McCarthy… They claim Kevin won’t get support from Democrats. -They’re voting Democratic,” Turner said. Said on Fox News.

Even national radio host Mark Levin accused Gaetz and his allies of “just throwing a tantrum” and not taking a “principled stand on strategy and endgame.”

But perhaps the person who expressed it best was Cliff Sims. Cliff Sims is a former President Trump official who became deputy director of national intelligence during the Trump administration. He told Breitbart News that the mess House Republicans are in is because of Gaetz and company, weakening the party’s influence. Fight against the Democratic Party.

“Conservatives who really understand what’s going on here need to know that Gaetz has thwarted their biggest chance in decades to exert influence over the Senate and White House on actual border security measures. “I know,” Sims said. “Some of our most conservative members have developed a package that includes most of HR2 in a continuing resolution. If it wasn’t for Gaetz, it would already be on Schumer’s desk right now. Now he says, “Oh, I’m all for that.” That’s why I want a single-issue spending bill. ” That’s a message to an uninformed electorate that he’s trying to manipulate. In fact, his conservative colleagues know that his antics have stopped any real momentum, which is why some of them are criticizing him. Conservatives love fighters, but what we really love are fighters who are smart, strategic, and know how to win. That’s why Trump’s approach always resonates so loudly. ”

Now, that being said, what’s happened here is that a handful of House hardliners who call themselves conservatives are refusing to win, making the Republican Party’s strongest border in recent memory -Republicans say that the immigration plan was blown away with CR’s downfall. If the resignation petition route goes ahead, he could lose all leverage in spending negotiations, and if his efforts to vacate his position go awry, it could undermine the just-started impeachment inquiry into Biden. There is. Needless to say, Democrats and the establishment media establishment are already salivating, as they will likely spend the next few weeks bashing Republicans as incompetent if there is a government shutdown.

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