McCarthy Will Offer a 'Clean' Stopgap Funding Bill in Bid to Keep His Job

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

By this time next week, it’s likely that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will be out of his job as speaker and the House of Representatives will be in chaos.

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The continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running for a month or two will be passed with about 20 Republican hard-liners unable to derail a Senate CR that won’t have enhanced border security, won’t have massive cuts in spending, and will have nothing that acknowledges the “weaponization” of the Justice Department.

It will be passed with the help of a significant portion of Democrats in the House. That means it’s curtains for McCarthy as speaker — at least temporarily.

That’s because, scanning the alternatives, there doesn’t seem to be any other Republican who can get 218 votes for speaker. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) wants the job, but he’s PO’d far too many non-fire eaters to gain the necessary 218 majority vote. Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) is the logical alternative, but he’s too closely associated with McCarthy.

The problem facing the GOP hardliners is the same one they faced at the beginning of the Congress: there’s literally no one else who can get a majority except McCarthy. It took them fifteen rounds of voting in January before they were convinced of that fact. So it appears that House Republicans are going to go through another round of chasing their tails.

McCarthy has tried three times to get the Republican caucus to vote for a CR. He tried it with disaster aid but no Ukraine aid. He tried it with Ukraine aid and no disaster aid. Furthermore, he tried it with draconian cuts in spending and less drastic cuts.

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His final gambit — just hours before the government sees a partial shutdown — is to go with a “clean” CR with no Ukraine or disaster relief funding. But about 10 of the hardliners have dashed those hopes by saying they won’t ever vote for another CR.

“I think if we had a clean one without Ukraine on it we could probably be able to move that through,” McCarthy said after a lengthy GOP conference meeting on Friday when asked about a clean continuing resolution. “I think if the Senate puts Ukraine on there and focuses Ukraine over America, I think that could cause real problems.”

The Senate is already ignoring him, preferring its own CR.

The Hill:

The Senate is considering a separate, bipartisan continuing resolution that would fund the government until Nov. 17 and includes $5.99 billion for disaster relief and $6.15 billion for Ukraine — a figure that has drawn criticism from Republicans in both chambers.

And Senate leaders appear to have little incentive to strip the Ukraine funding. The Senate bill overwhelmingly cleared two procedural hurdles with support from both sides of the aisle. And in the House, more than two-thirds of the chamber — all Democrats and a little less than half of Republicans — voted in favor of a separate $300 million Ukraine funding measure.

There’s a small chance that a legislative gambit known as a “discharge petition” could be employed to bring the Senate CR to the floor of the House. The scenario is fraught but not impossible.

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A large group of Republican moderates and conservatives interested in avoiding a government shutdown could join with a large group of Democrats to pass a petition to discharge the CR and bring it to the floor, even though McCarthy would be opposed. Generally speaking, if McCarthy loses control of the floor like that, he’s already a gone goose.

There are other problems with the discharge petition, not the least of which is the fact that the procedure is time-consuming and wouldn’t be ready until after the government was already shut down.

If the Senate CR is passed, you can pretty much kiss the GOP House majority goodbye. The right-wing nihilists forget they’re lawmakers and not only politicians. You can bet voters won’t forget it in 2024.

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