Republicans in disarray as government shutdown fight looms: report
The United States avoided an economic calamity in June when President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) reached a debt ceiling agreement and avoided defaulting on its debt obligations. After the bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) supported it in the U.S. Senate.
But members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus were furious with McCarthy for reaching a compromise with Biden. Now, McCarthy is facing another challenge: getting appropriations bills passed soon enough to avoid a government shutdown.
In an op-ed published on September 7, MSNBC's Hayes Brown stresses that McCarthy and McConnell are in two very different positions where appropriations bills are concerned. And McCarthy isn't worried about offending the Freedom Caucus.
"Now that the House is back from its August recess," Brown explains, "the speaker's first order of business is keeping the government from shutting down when the fiscal year ends on October 1…. But McCarthy is facing pressure from his right flank that will make it difficult to get anything done before that deadline."
Brown continues, "While it's conceivable that he could make a deal that satisfies both his caucus and the Democrat-controlled Senate, he'll have almost no margin of error before the far-right pounces — and he'll have to balance those interests without much, if any, support from Senate Republicans."
Brown notes that McConnell, unlike members of the Freedom Caucus, plans to stick with terms of the agreement worked out in June.
McConnell, in late August, told reporters, "The speaker and the president reached an agreement which I supported in connection with raising the debt ceiling to set spending levels for next year. The House then turned around and passed spending levels that were below that level. Without stating an opinion about that, that's not going to be replicated in the Senate."
Further complicating things for McCarthy, Brown observes, is pressure from the far right for a Biden impeachment.
"None of this is McConnell's concern, though," Brown writes. "His caucus is mostly uninterested in the impeachment contretemps playing out in the lower chamber and is clearly united enough to pass bills alongside the Democratic majority. In short, Senate Republicans are doing what's best for Senate Republicans, rather than what might help bail out the speaker."
Hayes Brown's full op-ed for MSNBC is available at this link.
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