Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are taking a new approach to avoid another government shutdown. With legislation to keep the government running beyond Sept. 30 looking unlikely to pass, Republicans are now preparing four separate spending bills with significant cuts. However, these bills are expected to be rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate, with President Joe Biden even indicating that he would veto two of them.
Despite the unlikely chance of these bills becoming law, Speaker Kevin McCarthy hopes that passing them could give Republicans leverage in negotiations with the Senate. He also wants to advance a stop-gap funding bill to keep the government running through Oct. 31. However, some hard-right Republicans oppose this idea, putting McCarthy in a difficult position.
If spending levels are not agreed upon soon, many government activities could be heavily impacted. The four proposed spending bills cover areas such as the military, homeland security, agriculture programs, and foreign operations. With Republicans holding only a narrow majority in the House, they can’t afford many defections.
Former President Donald Trump has expressed support for a government shutdown, but it is not guaranteed. On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has scheduled a vote on a stopgap funding bill, indicating a willingness to keep the government running.
McCarthy now faces the tough decision of whether to bring the stopgap funding bill up for a vote in the House, potentially angering far-right Republicans. This move could even lead to a push to remove McCarthy from his speakership. The outcome of these negotiations will have significant implications for the functioning of the U.S. government in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, the House Rules Committee met to consider the four spending bills, setting the stage for further deliberations and debates. The fate of these bills remains uncertain, but they represent the latest effort by Republicans to navigate a divided Congress and avoid a damaging government shutdown.
Reporting by Makini Brice and Richard Cowan; editing by Andy Sullivan and Alistair Bell.
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