The United States is on the verge of a government shutdown as House Republicans prepare to oppose a proposed last-minute funding bill in the Senate. Congress has until midnight on Saturday to pass a new budget, or thousands of federal employees will face unpaid leave. The Senate is moving forward with a temporary funding agreement to avoid a shutdown until November 17, but this plan faces opposition in the House from hardline Republicans. These members are threatening to remove House leader Kevin McCarthy as Speaker if he relies on Democratic votes to pass a bill without their support. Despite the increasing likelihood of a shutdown, McCarthy remains optimistic about reaching a deal.
The growing divide between moderate and right-wing factions within the Republican Party is becoming a significant challenge for McCarthy. Although the right-wing only accounts for a small number of members, their influence is amplified in a chamber where Republicans hold a narrow majority. They demand spending cuts and the prioritization of conservative policies, rejecting anything resembling the status quo in Washington. McCarthy may need to turn to Democrats for support on a short-term spending bill, but this move would likely lead to a motion to oust him as Speaker. As tensions rise between the two parties, President Joe Biden urges McCarthy to prioritize the country’s interests over his position of power.
In an effort to prevent a government shutdown, the Senate plans to hold a procedural vote on a short-term funding bill. The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate, but it must also pass in the House to become law. Unfortunately, at least nine hardline House Republicans are refusing to back any stopgap measures. They have consistently threatened to remove McCarthy as Speaker if he relies on Democratic votes to pass a funding bill without their support. This deadlock between the Senate and the House increases the likelihood of a government shutdown. As the clock ticks down, both sides continue to pursue their conflicting funding plans, leaving the outcome uncertain.