GOP rebels, Dems sink House stopgap funding bill less than 48 hours before likely government shutdown

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A group of GOP hardliners joined Democrats in sinking House Republicans’ stopgap funding bill on Friday, significantly raising the chances of a government shutdown happening over the weekend.

A procedural vote to advance the bill passed earlier in the day, but final passage failed on an 198 to 232 vote. Twenty-one Republicans voted against it, including Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.; Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; and Nancy Mace, R-S.C., among others.

It’s a heavy blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., whose leadership has faced public threats throughout the spending battle so far from some in the right flank of his conference. 

Federal government funding expires at the end of the day on Sept. 30. If the House and Senate can’t strike a deal by then, a partial shutdown threatens to force all federal functions deemed ‘nonessential’ to grind to a halt. 

A short-term funding extension, known as a continuing resolution (CR), is almost certainly needed to give lawmakers more time to cobble together 12 individual spending bills for fiscal year 2024.

But Republican leaders have had a hard time so far corralling their conference into some kind of agreement. A faction of conservatives have for weeks said they are opposed to any CR, arguing it would be an extension of the previous Democratically controlled Congress. 

The House GOP’s CR proposal included an amendment to slash spending for its monthlong duration to fiscal 2022 levels, about $130 billion less than the current year’s. It also featured elements from House Republicans’ border security bill, and McCarthy said a new provision would mandate the creation of a bipartisan committee to study the federal debt.

McCarthy and his allies have tried to pressure the holdouts by accusing them of siding with Democrats and giving Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as well as the White House more leverage to pass government funding without conservative policy riders. 

The speaker said before the vote on Friday morning, ‘Every member will have to go on record… Are they willing to secure the border or do they side with President Biden on an open border and vote against a measure to keep government open?’

House GOP lawmakers are huddling behind closed doors at 4 p.m. on Friday to discuss a path forward.

McCarthy was asked after exiting the House floor if he has any plan in his back pocket after the CR failed. ‘Nothing right now,’ he replied.

A government shutdown is all but assured now with no agreement on a short-term spending patch. 

The Senate is working on its own CR which would extend current funding levels for 45 days and include additional funding for Ukraine aid and U.S. disaster relief. 

But a straightforward extension of the previous Congress’ spending priorities is a nonstarter for a significant chunk of House Republicans. McCarthy has also pledged not to bring a short-term spending bill that includes Ukraine funding to the floor.

McCarthy did say he was open to working with Schumer on a CR provided it includes border security measures.

Fox News’ Aishah Hasnie contributed to this report.

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