WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress has a few short weeks to approve major spending bills to avoid a government shutdown. But a handful of House republicans are threatening they will hold up votes on those bills unless their demands are met. They want congress to spend less than the levels agreed on from the debt ceiling agreement the President made with the Speaker of the House. If members can’t approve these bills, here could be a government shutdown later down the road.
About 21 conservative republicans sent a letter to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R- CA). In this letter they say they plan to vote against any appropriations bills designed to achieve the approximately $1.5- trillion dollar top line spending level. Instead, they’re demanding to slash that number closer to $1.47-trillion dollars.
They add that without getting to that reduced spending level and/or achieving significant policy victories like forcing President Biden to sign a bill that makes changes to immigration law, they said “we see an impossible path” to reach enough republican votes on appropriations or other measures.
Republicans have a narrow majority margin in the House. With this slim majority, they need all the votes they can get to push legislation through. In June, we saw how just a dozen of republicans were able to keep legislation on the floor. Our congressional members we spoke with said they wish this kind of intraparty fighting would be kept behind closed doors and away from the House floor.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D- NY) was asked about the impact this potential rift could have in the House on major bills like the government funding legislation and the National Defense Authorization Act which makes investments in our military. Here’s what he had to say:
“I would hope that House republicans do what we’re doing in the Senate and trying to work it out in a bipartisan way,” said Sen. Schumer. “Two of the most important bills we face this year, the appropriations bill and the NDAA bill are proceeding in a very good bipartisan way over here and the House ought to learn from that example.”
Congress will break for recess all of August and most of these appropriation bills need to be finalized before October. Any hold ups could threaten a potential government shutdown.