WASHINGTON — House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s latest proposal to avert a US government shutdown is already facing stiff resistance from ultraconservatives whose votes the California Republican needs for passage.
McCarthy was working Monday to salvage the plan he announced late Sunday that would cut domestic agencies’ budgets by 8% and resume construction of wall on the southern border.
At least 10 hard-right lawmakers have announced their opposition to the measure. Conservatives critics are asking for a litany of changes including deeper spending cuts, defunding the investigation into Donald Trump and blocking the spending of previous Ukraine aid. Those changes could spark opposition from moderate Republicans.
McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes in the face of unified Democratic opposition.
“It’s frustrating. I don’t know what the problem is here,” Moderate California Republican Mike Garcia, who represents an area President Joe Biden carried in 2020, said on Monday. “We need to give our leadership a package to go negotiate with the Senate.”
McCarthy would not say Monday if he had enough Republican support to pass his proposal, but told reporters lawmakers may be in Washington through the weekend working on a deal.
“We’re going to bring new ideas up,” McCarthy said, “and we’re going to work until we get this done. We’re not leaving this weekend. We’re going to get through this.”
The powerful House Rules Committee is expected to consider the proposed bill late Monday and decide whether to advance it to the floor, although it has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate due to disagreement over immigration and a lack of disaster aid and funds for Ukraine.
The risk of a shutdown remains high.
Florida Representative Matt Gaetz blamed the looming shutdown on McCarthy.
“It is unfortunate that due to poor leadership there will be a shut down during this process. It will be painful and the leaders who blew this deadline must be dealt with,” he posted on X, previously known as Twitter.
McCarthy also would not directly answer whether he should start working with Democrats to pass a short term spending bill that could pass the House and serve as a start for negotiations in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“We’ve got a long ways to go. We’ve got a lot of different ideas,” McCarthy said of the intra-party talks.
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