J. Scott Applewhite/AP
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters on September 14, 2023 in Washington.
House Republican leaders are sending members home amid deep divisions over funding the government ahead of a fast-approaching Sept. 30 deadline, according to multiple GOP sources.
They had planned to stay in session over the weekend to pass the stop-gap bill, but the decision to send members home showed they lacked the votes to avoid a government shutdown.
The House returns to session on Tuesday and meetings continue in the Speaker’s office.
The fate of a GOP initiative after conservative hardliners drowned out House Republican leaders from advancing the Pentagon bill on Thursday. Keep government funding is uncertain.
Failure marks of practical speech Another blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy He faces a major leadership test Threats to oust him And Congress is closer to a potential shutdown next weekend. The defense funding bill generally enjoys broad bipartisan support, a sign of how even normally controversial issues have become mired in Republican infighting.
With government funding set to expire at the end of next week, continued opposition from a crowd of far-right conservatives The House GOP has consistently bucked the leadership agendaThe House threatens to freeze the floor in the process.
On Thursday, the House voted on a procedural measure to advance the Defense Department bill. The final vote was 216-212.
While the specific legislation is separate from efforts to fund the government beyond the current Sept. 30 deadline, the failure highlighted the turmoil and divisions within the House Republican caucus to unify GOP House members to avoid a shutdown.
It’s the third time House Republicans have cornered McCarthy and the GOP leadership on a vote on a provision, a traditional partisan step taken to advance legislation.
McCarthy was frustrated on the House floor as House hardliners upheld another rule, lambasting the group for wanting to “burn the place down.”
“It’s frustrating in the sense that I don’t understand why anyone would vote against bringing this idea up and having a debate,” McCarthy told reporters.
Opposition from hardliners has hurt Republican leadership’s efforts to unite behind a plan to fund the government. Days of negotiations yielded some apparent progress, but McCarthy’s Republican opponents quickly threw cold water on the progress and openly defied the speaker’s calls for unity. McCarthy’s thin edge in the room He can only lose four members without the support of Democrats for a majority vote — and the absence can raise and lower the majority threshold.
Wednesday evening, McCarthy briefed his conference behind closed doors On a new plan to keep the government open — with deep spending cuts and new border security measures — in an effort to win over wary members on his right. The plan outlined by the speaker would keep the government open for 30 days with a $1.47 trillion spending cap, a debt relief commission and a border security package. Separately, they agreed to move annual fiscal bills by $1.53 trillion. That level falls short of the bipartisan deal the Speaker struck with the White House to raise the national debt ceiling.
As part of the deal, Republicans told CNN Wednesday night that they have the votes to move forward a yearlong Pentagon spending bill that five conservative hardliners blocked on Tuesday. Flip yes on the provision and the Defense Department will vote Thursday on the bill after it falls below the spending levels requested by Speaker Norman.
But there were also five Republican dissenters in Thursday’s vote — for a total of six Republicans who voted against the ruling. Representatives Don Bishop of North Carolina, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Eli Crane of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia voted against the bill. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, eventually reversed his vote and voted against the rule so he could bring it up for reconsideration. It’s unclear when Republicans might try to re-vote.
This story has been updated with additional updates.