Speaker Kevin McCarthy still plans to bring up the GOP’s short-term plan to fund the government in a vote on Thursday, even as his members indicate it’s doomed.
McCarthy, during a series of gaggles with reporters in the Capitol on Monday, didn’t rule out that Republicans could change the stopgap bill, which would keep the government funded through October while cutting certain domestic spending and ramping up border security policies. The plan was crafted by centrists in the Main Street Caucus and hardliners in the House Freedom Caucus, though multiple members of the latter group have already castigated the proposal and promised to oppose it.
“Members are going to sit down, be able to work through it,” McCarthy said.
Despite conservatives’ clear opposition, the Rules Committee was still slated to take up the stopgap on Monday afternoon in order to prep it for floor action later this week. However, House Rules Chair Tom Cole (R-Okla.) wasn’t sure if the panel would ultimately end up pulling the measure.
“I just don’t know,” he said. “I mean, I think it will make it through the Rules Committee. But I don’t know if they have the votes yet on the floor.”
McCarthy continued to argue Monday that House Republicans’ best chance to gain leverage against Democrats in the spending fight was to pass some sort of short-term spending fix, giving them more time to clear full-year bills.
Six negotiators — evenly split between the Freedom and Main Street Caucuses — said on Sunday night that they had reached a deal on a one-month stopgap spending bill that would also include spending cuts and a border bill that passed earlier this year. But members almost immediately undercut GOP leaders’ hopes to unify their conference, with more than a dozen conservative lawmakers vowing to oppose the measure. Republicans can only lose four votes and still pass the bill, given unanimous Democratic opposition and assuming full attendance.
McCarthy praised the two groups on Monday as willing to come together “for the good of the country” but indicated the current plan was an “idea” and leadership would likely make changes. Even if the bill can somehow pass the House, it stands no chance in a Democratic Senate, meaning it would not avert a government shutdown.
Republicans will also bring a mammoth defense spending bill to the floor on Wednesday after it stalled out last week, also due to conservative opposition.
“I am always cheerfully persistent. We’re going to find a way to get through this … We’re going to bring new ideas up and we’re going to work until we get this done. We’re not leaving this weekend,” McCarthy added.
The chairs of the Freedom and Main Street groups were spotted huddling in the Capitol on Monday afternoon in a bid to keep their spending proposal alive while they race to try to find enough support to pass it.
Caitlin Emma, Sarah Ferris and Olivia Beavers contributed.
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