GOP Infighting, Spending Plans Increase Shutdown Odds

Reports suggest the likelihood of a governmental impasse is on the rise, instigated by growing discord within the ranks of GOP lawmakers and their diverging views on spending bills from those of House Republicans.

Conflict has arisen due to the GOP’s proposal to curtail spending bills, falling beneath previously agreed upon caps. These caps were part of the debt limit legislation hammered out by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. This move is anticipated to ignite a confrontation with Senate Democrats and the presidential administration.

Within the legislative package, there’s a consensus agreement that defines new discretionary spending limits for the coming two fiscal years. However, McCarthy resists these numbers, arguing they signify a spending limit that Congress should not surpass, as mentioned in a report by The Hill.

Spearheaded by Kay Granger, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee from Texas, Republicans are gearing up to establish 2024’s spending based on the guidelines set in 2022. Their strategy aims to trim down federal spending by $120 billion.

Democrats, on the other hand, object to such reductions. Their endorsement is crucial to greenlight the appropriations bill and circumvent a partial government shutdown set to occur on October 1st. Therefore, a prospective collision is brewing regarding the scale of governmental expenditure.

Hakeem Jeffries, the House Minority Leader from New York, has stated that Democrats will reject any spending blueprint that falls short of the debt ceiling levels ratified in the deal.

Adding to this, Rep. Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, voiced that the GOP’s strategy almost certainly assures a shutdown. House Democratic Caucus Chair, Pete Aguilar from California, echoed her sentiments, stating that Republicans are unlikely to garner Democrat support for the cuts, thereby courting a potential shutdown risk.

“The Senate will follow the agreed deal and therefore, the Republicans in the House will effectively sideline themselves. They will make their members endorse these substantial cuts, which stand no chance of becoming law,” Aguilar commented on Tuesday.

Furthermore, he insinuated that McCarthy’s past agreements to secure his position as House Speaker had paved the way for this predicament.

In a related development, McCarthy made several compromises to his adversaries in January during his Speaker campaign. These included pledges to uphold 2022 spending levels for 2024 and to reject any proposition exceeding these boundaries.

However, in defense of the debt ceiling deal, McCarthy stated, “We never vowed to maintain the 2022 levels entirely. I stated that we would aim to reach the 2022 level or achieve equivalent cuts.”

The Financial Responsibility Act, enacted following the debt ceiling agreement, incentivizes Congress members to pass 12 appropriations bills by January 1. Failing this, a continuing resolution capping spending at 99% of current levels and instituting a 1% blanket cut to all government expenditure would be activated.

This would encompass military spending, prompting concerns that reduced spending could potentially endanger national security. However, the likelihood of a continuing resolution seems to be anticipated by legislators, potentially leading to a face-off between Senate Democrats and House Republicans.

Rep. Gary Palmer from Alabama speculated, “My assumption is we’ll proceed to pass the CR at the 99% level, and then if a shutdown ensues, the Senate will be held responsible.”

In contrast, staunch conservatives assert they are not employing scare tactics to coerce the government into a shutdown to achieve their desired spending levels.

Rep. Ralph Norman from South Carolina expressed his lack of concern about a shutdown, focusing more on reining in spending, stating, “The country’s going to face a permanent shutdown if we don’t curb our spending. I’m weary of ‘We’ll do it tomorrow.’ We must take action now or make an attempt to.”