US House leaders warn of dire consequences as government shutdown looms

13:56 17.09.2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing opposition from hardline Republicans as a possible partial government shutdown looms in two weeks. McCarthy has vowed to bring a defense spending bill to a vote this week, regardless of the outcome. Senior Democrat Hakeem Jeffries criticized the Republicans in the House, accusing them of engaging in a "civil war" and causing chaos and dysfunction in Congress. The Republicans are divided over spending and pursuing a new impeachment drive against President Joe Biden, while also facing the possibility of a government shutdown.

McCarthy is struggling to bring the fiscal 2024 spending legislation to the House floor due to conservative demands for spending to be cut back to the 2022 level of $1.47 trillion. This is $120 billion below the agreed spending level with Biden in May. Jeffries emphasized the importance of avoiding a government shutdown that would harm the economy's recovery.

McCarthy is also facing calls for his ouster from hardline conservatives who accuse him of breaking promises made when he became speaker in January. The House and Senate have until October 1 to pass appropriations bills or a short-term spending measure to avoid a partial shutdown. McCarthy has taken a tougher stance with hardliners, stating that he will bring the defense bill to the floor this week.

McCarthy held closed-door discussions over the weekend to overcome opposition from conservative hardliners to spending legislation. They are seeking assurances that the legislation will include their desired spending cuts and conservative policy priorities, including tighter border security. Representative Elise Stefanik expressed optimism about moving forward on appropriations after the discussions, while Representative Nancy Mace did not rule out support for a vote to oust McCarthy. Mace criticized the speaker for not fulfilling promises regarding women's issues and gun violence.

McCarthy warned members of his caucus that they could face political consequences if they allow a government shutdown. He plans to keep the House in session until funding is passed to keep the government funded past September 30. The Fitch rating agency has already downgraded U.S. debt due to political brinkmanship and the repeated last-minute negotiations that threaten the government's ability to pay its bills.

Both sides acknowledge the negative impact of a government shutdown. McCarthy and other Republicans express concern about the short-sightedness of pushing for a shutdown, while Democrats, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warn of the harm it could cause to vulnerable members of society who depend on government assistance. Efforts are being made to avoid a shutdown and find a resolution to the spending dispute.

/ Sunday, September 17, 2023, 1:56 PM /

themes:  Joe Biden  War

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