Why House Republicans might shut down the government

It all comes down to McCarthy’s choices about 'how far to go to satisfy Republican hardliners'

Kevin McCarthy
The GOP’s right-wing flank has a range of demands for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
(Image credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

There’s talk — again — of a looming government shutdown. The Wall Street Journal reported that House Republicans returned to work this week “signaling they are ready to use tougher tactics to extract concessions” on the federal budget. Without a budget deal by October 1, there’s a real possibility the federal government will end up “furloughing hundreds of thousands of federal workers and closing national parks” though some “critical services” are expected to remain operational.

Also again: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s job might be on the line with this showdown. He won the job only by agreeing to a process that lets conservatives call a “quick vote” to replace him, the Associated Press reported. “That threat of an abrupt ouster hovers over McCarthy’s every move, especially now.” Indeed, Rep. Matt Gaetz has hinted that he may force that vote if McCarthy makes too many compromises with Democrats on a budget deal. "If Kevin McCarthy stands in our way,” Gaetz said during a radio appearance, “he may not have the job long."

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Joel Mathis, The Week US

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who has spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His work also regularly appears in National Geographic, The Kansas City Star and Heatmap News. His awards include best online commentary at the Online News Association and (twice) at the City and Regional Magazine Association.