The government will shut down in 11 days unless House Speaker Kevin McCarthy can unite his openly warring Republican conference and Senate Republicans decide to prioritize a functioning government. McCarthy’s only plan to avert a shutdown disaster is the one that some hard-liners crafted with a handful of moderates—a plan that another bunch of hard-liners have already rejected.
That has pitted the House Republican conference against each other—and against McCarthy—in the most vicious fighting to date. Unsurprisingly, Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia are in the middle of it all, throwing kerosine on every little flame that pops up. Greene and Gaetz, who is not a Freedom Caucus member, have been sparring with the members who helped broker the doomed deal, including fellow Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and Texas Rep. Chip Roy, each of whom blasted back.
“Matt, tell the people the truth. … What’s your plan to get the votes to defund [special counsel] Jack Smith? You’ll need more than tweets and hot takes!!” Donalds wrote in one exchange. And on conservative talk radio, Roy complained, “I don’t know whether we’ll have the votes or not, because I’ve got a lot of conservative friends who like to beat their chests and thump around going, ‘Oh, this isn’t pure enough.’”
The plan in question would cut almost all programs by 8%, excluding veterans and defense programs as well as disaster relief, over the next month. It would also include provisions from the House’s racist immigration bill, H.R. 2, which the Senate refuses to take up. This plan would provide funding just through the month of October.
Assuming that this bill somehow passed in the House, it would take most of next week to tee up a Senate vote, even if the Senate accepted it (which they won’t). That would allow just one month to pass all the individual funding bills—12 of them in total—in both the House and Senate, and the House is scheduled to be in session just two weeks in October. Bottom line? Logistically and politically, that’s not going to happen. The House GOP hasn’t even managed to come together to pass defense appropriations.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans seem to have decided that they need to help McCarthy by buying him time to pursue this apparently doomed effort. That’s the only explanation for why they’ve decided to start obstructing funding efforts on their side of Capitol Hill. That decision is making a shutdown even likelier.
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told Politico that if the warring House Republicans can’t figure it out, “then it looks like we’re heading to a shutdown.” Yawn. He says that they have “to give Speaker McCarthy the room he needs to try to figure that out. … He pulled a rabbit out of the hat on the debt ceiling. So I wouldn’t underestimate him.” He didn’t pull that one off all by himself; he had President Joe Biden helping—something that’s not happening this time around.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota verbally shrugged. “[T]he ball’s in their court,” he told Politico, meaning the House. “I hope they can execute on getting something done,” he added. Good luck with that.
That’s two members in the Senate GOP leadership ranks, who seem to be okay with the idea of Republicans being blamed for shutting down the government, again. They’re refusing to go around House GOP leadership, possibly in the belief that McCarthy really can pull this off and unite his conference. They seem to be prioritizing that over working with Democrats to keep the government running. You do you, guys.
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What do you do if you’re associated with one of the biggest election fraud scandals in recent memory? If you’re Republican Mark Harris, you try running for office again! On this week’s episode of “The Downballot,” we revisit the absolutely wild story of Harris’ 2018 campaign for Congress, when one of his consultants orchestrated a conspiracy to illegally collect blank absentee ballots from voters and then had his team fill them out before “casting” them. Officials wound up tossing the results of this almost-stolen election, but now Harris is back with a new bid for the House—and he won’t shut up about his last race, even blaming Democrats for the debacle.
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