Dems Makes It Clear Early And Often Whose Fault A Government Shutdown Will Be

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference after a lunch meeting with Senate Democrats with U.S. Capitol 26, 2023 in Washington, DC. Schumer spoke about the ... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a news conference after a lunch meeting with Senate Democrats with U.S. Capitol 26, 2023 in Washington, DC. Schumer spoke about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Any hope on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s part of quietly passing a short-term spending bill to buy himself more time to wrangle his conference hardliners and avoid a shutdown was dashed on Monday by those very far-right members.

McCarthy told his caucus on a private call last week that he believed the passage of a continuing resolution to keep the government open would likely become necessary when the House returns from recess next month, signaling he didn’t think he could strongarm Freedom Caucus rebels into dropping their culture war grievances and spending cut gambits to pass next year’s budget appropriations bills before money runs out at the end of September.

The House Freedom Caucus came out against the plan for a stopgap spending bill today — unless it includes their preferred language on the border, laws that fuel their baseless FBI/DOJ “weaponization” hysteria and some changes to Pentagon policies, likely related to the rule that allows members of the military time to travel to get an abortion. Members of the far-right group didn’t offer specifics on the exact “woke” policy they take issue with.

Packing the Freedom Caucus’ proposals into a continuing resolution means McCarthy would have to get all House Republicans on board with the language in order for it to pass in the House as House Democrats would not support such a measure — House Democratic leadership already came out against the far-right members’ agenda today.

And so McCarthy finds himself navigating a now all-too-familiar dynamic: succumb to the hardliners’ hostage-taking and convince the rest of the caucus to do the same or get enough House Republicans on board with a bare-bones short-term spending bill that Democrats could support as well, both in the House and to get it through the upper chamber.

If McCarthy does work with Democrats again to get a stopgap bill through the lower chamber, Freedom Caucus members may use it as an opportunity to finally make good on their threats to oust him as speaker, an ultimatum that far-right members have raised repeatedly this year but one that has amounted to little more than noise.

While this line-walking has been a constant for McCarthy since before his speakership election in January, Democrats are getting a lot more vocal about calling the hardliners’ flexing out in real time, likely to avoid ambiguity about who is to blame for consistently bringing the nation to the verge of financial catastrophe.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) put out a statement shortly after the Freedom Caucus announced its intentions to continue risking a government shutdown: “House Republicans are determined to shutdown the government and crash our economy. We will fight these MAGA extremists every step of the way,” he said.

Upon announcing that he and McCarthy had agreed that passing a continuing resolution may be necessary next month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made it clear that acquiescing to far-right demands would be a losing battle for the House speaker: “If McCarthy follows the hard right and tries to do a partisan bill he’s going to lose,” Schumer said. “The hard right wants to shut down the government. But McCarthy knows that that would be a disaster not only for the country, but for his party.”

After the Freedom Caucus released their redlines on Monday, Schumer doubled down:

“If the House decides to go in a partisan direction it will lead to a Republican caused shutdown,” he said in a statement.

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Latest Where Things Stand

Notable Replies

  1. Hope the Democrats really do call the GOPs bluff. Strip out all the “culture war” bullshit, and a bi-partisan CR would easily pass both chambers.

  2. Avatar for caltg caltg says:

    Face it, the so-called “freedom caucus” has no interest in governing or improving the lives of the American people. All they are interested in is inflicting pain and crippling the United States.

  3. No matter how he plays it, McCarthy has a losing hand. The GOP in general has a losing hand in the budget/default game, especially if they actually get their threatened shutdown. I’ve long gotten past the point of asking myself if the MAGAs are stupid enough to shoot themselves in the feet, and the rest of us, as well.

  4. Avatar for tpr tpr says:

    the rule that allows members of the military time to travel to get an abortion

    I initially misread this as suggesting that military personnel are permitted to use time travel to get abortions. Which is a hell of a way around Dobbs.

    Glad to see that yesterday’s most-read story is the one about the plutocrats’ long game. This is a dangerous time. Gotta keep an eye on our opponents.

  5. It amazes me the weird media coverage of the GOP.

    The House GOP is nuts. Trump is nuts and the entire GOP debate thingie is a sideshow.

    Joe Biden is running for reelection on an impressive record. Donald Trump is running from the Law.

    But in Mediaville Joe is always in trouble. Big big trouble if the GOP crazies shut down the government. It’s Joe’s fault.

    Mediaville is most importantly an entertainment center these days and the Circus has come to town.

    In fact, the big circus parade is this week - the first GOP Presidential Debate.

    You’d think for all the hype and dollars The Debate might amount to more than a puff of steam.

    But no, it does not.

    Though the elephants are starving and the clowns are on cocaine, you must understand this is business.

    The pickpockets are making a killing and the greatest president that ever lived is our Ringmaster of a million clicks.

    Doesn’t everyone love a parade?

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