A handful of House Republican hardliners blocked consideration of the House Republican defense appropriation bill for a second time on Thursday and said they have enough votes to thwart a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded after Sept. 30.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) embarrassing failure to move any spending bill past the blockade of his ultraconservative flank significantly increased "the already high chances of a government shutdown," The Washington Post reported.
After the unexpected failure on the defense spending bill, usually popular among Republicans, McCarthy canceled all further votes until Tuesday, scrapping plans to keep the House in session over the weekend. Lawmakers began flying home Thursday afternoon. "This is a whole new concept of individuals who just want to burn the whole place down," McCarthy told reporters after Thursday's vote. "It doesn't work."
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The Senate has prepared a stopgap spending bill, or continuing resolution, that would fund the government at levels agreed to earlier this year by McCarthy and President Biden, the Post reported, but the Constitution stipulates that spending legislation begin in the House. McCarthy could pass a "clean" spending extension that would also pass in the Senate, with the help of House Democrats, but that would spark a push by the GOP hardliners to oust McCarthy from the speaker's chair.
The Republican faction continuously tanking McCarthy's plans wants the House to pass all 12 annual spending bills with deep cuts the Democratic-led Senate would find unacceptable. McCarthy's shifting plan involved passing the defense spending bill on Friday, then another handful of the annual spending bills over the next week, in an attempt to appease his holdouts so they would allow a continuing resolution to pass before Sept. 30.
Instead, Politico reported, Thursday's debacle "proved what many in the GOP had already suspected: That McCarthy is essentially powerless to avert a government closure that could begin Oct. 1."
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