If his impeachment inquiry noise-making gambit doesn’t work in swaying far-right House Republicans to get in line and move forward with appropriations bills that are at least passable in the Democrat-controlled Senate, then House Speaker Kevin McCarthy may have to grovel at House Democrats’ feet — again.
That’s what at least one member of his Republican caucus acknowledged this week while lawmakers are home on August recess. The House wrapped up for the month weeks ago after only having passed a handful of appropriations bills out of committee that are dead on arrival in the Senate. This delay in the appropriations process is the result of more hostage-taking from far-right Republicans who are mucking up the normal appropriations process by tacking riders onto appropriations bills that fan culture war flames, like restricting abortion access for members of the military or gutting diversity initiatives.
Even if enough Republicans get on board with the far-right edited appropriations bills that these bills can pass in the House, the Senate will ultimately end up writing and passing its own versions of the bills, ending up at an impasse with the lower chamber. Passing a Senate version of the bill in the House — sans right-wing grievance riders — may require some support from House Democrats, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) acknowledged to Politico in a piece published Thursday.
“At some point we’ll have to deal with the reality that America is a two-party system. If we can’t do it on our own, there may come a point in time when you want to have to deal with Democrats,” Joyce, who is in charge of the centrist Republican Governance Group and who has been involved in spending talks, told Politico.
Democrats are reportedly not necessarily opposed to helping McCarthy avoid a shutdown should things still look dicey closer to the end of September when they’ll need to pass either a large spending package or a short term bill to keep the government open, according to Politico. Democrats have done this in the face of chaos before.
As far-right Republicans threw a fit when McCarthy struck a deal with the White House in May — ending their debt ceiling hostage taking game — Democrats stepped up to help McCarthy clear a procedural hurdle to bring the bill to the floor for debate and ultimately helped pass the debt ceiling bill to avoid default. At the time, hardliners floated conspiracy theories about McCarthy being in cahoots with Democrats and threatened to oust him as speaker, though that wound up being just talk.
While Democrats aren’t ruling out the possibility that they’ll step in to help avoid a shutdown if needed, they want to let House Republicans sweat a bit first. Per Politico:
Privately, senior Democrats aren’t ruling out such a bailout. With lawmakers home and traveling over the August recess, Democratic leaders haven’t yet begun any formal conversations with Republicans on spending. Instead, they’re waiting to see what the GOP puts forward or can get over the finish line themselves next month, according to two Democrats granted anonymity to discuss internal conversations.
Still, many acknowledge that their party will probably help support a stopgap funding bill — as long as McCarthy keeps it free of conservative poison pills, such as abortion and diversity-related measures, that the GOP has packed into several major pieces of legislation this year.
And Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) doesn’t blame them:
“If you’re the Democrats, what motivation do you have to want to help Republicans, who are now governing, achieve their goals and objectives?” a downbeat Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) said.
“Unless they have this desire to save the country from itself, I don’t see them coming to the rescue on the rule, I don’t see them coming to the rescue on the votes,” Womack added.
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