Hardline House Republicans on Wednesday blocked the House from even debating a measure to fund the US military, deepening turmoil among GOP lawmakers as Washington hurtles toward a government shutdown as soon as Oct. 1.
(Bloomberg) — Hardline House Republicans on Wednesday blocked the House from even debating a measure to fund the US military, deepening turmoil among GOP lawmakers as Washington hurtles toward a government shutdown as soon as Oct. 1.
The move is a blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy just one day after he launched an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden sought by the party’s right wing. It underscores the challenges he faces in mustering support from his fractious party for spending legislation.
There is no clear path at the moment for congressional approval of funding to operate the government beyond the Sept. 30 end of the current fiscal year.
Republican leaders couldn’t unite their party behind a procedural step needed to begin debate on annual funding for the Defense Department. They called off a vote rather than lose but McCarthy said he’s trying to salvage the bill.
Conservatives want to see another $120 billion in overall annual government spending cut beyond funding caps set in the debt-ceiling deal between McCarthy and Biden earlier this year. They also oppose tens of billions of dollars in accounting moves used to meet caps.
“I’m voting against every bill until we live up to the promises made in January that we will cut spending,” said Representative Dan Bishop, a North Carolina Republican.
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The House so far has been unable to pass any of the 12 annual bills that typically fund the government, except one covering military construction and veterans affairs. Hardliners are also opposed to a stopgap measure come Oct. 1 without conservative policies attached, threatening to oust McCarthy as speaker if he allows a vote on such a bill.
Ken Calvert, the California Republican who leads the defense spending panel, and Tom Cole, the Oklahoma Republican who chairs the Rules Committee, on Wednesday morning made the case for passing the defense spending measure.
“There are no concerns on the bill,” Cole said. “They are all all about unrelated things. Let’s not bring this down to make a point on something else.”
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