Shutdown watch: Has McCarthy lost control of the House GOP?

The House speaker offers a plan to avert a shutdown, and far-right lawmakers say no

Illustration of the Capitol building surrounded by scribbled lines
This shutdown debacle proves "McCarthy is powerless"
(Image credit: Illustrated / Getty Images)

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had negotiated with fellow Republicans to come up with a plan to avert a looming government shutdown. It calls for cutting spending at domestic agencies — everything but defense — by 8%. The proposal also would revive some Trump-era border restrictions, including renewed construction of a border wall, Axios noted. The plan would keep the government running for a month after the Sept. 30 deadline, buying time to work out a long-term deal. But as soon as he unveiled the proposal just days ago, a dozen far-right members of his own party shot it down, saying they wouldn't support it. 

Some hardliners, like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), have accused McCarthy of taking too weak a stand in the spending fight, and threatened to oust him from his leadership position. Gaetz, who blames McCarthy and other Republican leaders for an Ethics Committee inquiry that threatened his political future, has threatened to introduce a motion to force McCarthy out of the speaker's chair if he pushes a continuing resolution to keep the government funded at current levels while negotiations continue, according to Punchbowl News.

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.