GOP Has Lots of Ideas to Halt a Shutdown But Can’t Agree on One

Republicans have plenty of ideas on how to stop a shutdown. They just can’t agree on one plan, much less get Democrats to go along.

(Bloomberg) — Republicans have plenty of ideas on how to stop a shutdown. They just can’t agree on one plan, much less get Democrats to go along.

Hardline conservatives on Friday defeated House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s proposal, which was in itself a bit of a fantasy. It demanded that in return for keeping the government open just one month Democrats concede to new restrictions on asylum and immigration and a 30% cut in most federal agencies.

The House’s rejection of McCarthy’s plan unleashed a flood of new proposals, even as a shutdown beginning Sunday morning became all but inevitable. Those proposals seem to only be further sowing divisions. 

McCarthy hinted late Friday at a compromise, telling reporters that the House may be able to pass a no-strings short-term spending bill without aid to Ukraine. Yet his far right doesn’t appear to have jumped on board. 

“What we heard in there is total capitulation,” Representative Bob Good, an ultraconservative from Virginia, said leaving a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans that spanned more than two hours Friday night. 

Here are some of the leading options:

Clean But Very Short

Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a hardline conservative, as well as some House Republicans, began shopping around a plan for “clean” temporary funding stripped of any disputed provisions. That means no new aid to Ukraine that could offend Republican populists but also no funding cuts or poison-pill immigration provisions. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray blocked Johnson’s initial offer, dismissing it as “slapdash” and holding out for more. But some sort of very short term bill is likely the only chance to avoid at least a short shutdown given splits within the GOP.

Very Short With Tough Demands

Some House Republicans are also considering an offer to keep the government open for as little as one week, but only if Democrats agree to meet demands on immigration policy. The Republicans are mulling this proposal overnight, with a vote possible Saturday. Another option, Republicans said, is to bring back the failed bill but have it last 14 days instead of 31 days. 

Read More: The Shutdown Seven: Here Are Lawmakers to Watch in Negotiations

Bipartisan Senate Plan

Many Senate Republicans — including GOP leader Mitch McConnell — are backing a bipartisan plan to keep the government open until mid-November. That includes a portion — but not all — the money the Biden administration requested for Ukraine and for disaster relief. Senate Democratic leaders are on board but it faces opposition from House Republicans. The Republicans, however, are split over Ukraine assistance and want border provisions first.

Senate Plan With Border Provisions

Some Senate Republicans are exploring negotiating border control provisions with moderate Democrat Joe Manchin and independent Kyrsten Sinema to add to the current bipartisan plan. There was little sign of progress on Friday.

Wait Until Military Pay Day

Several Republican lawmakers said they would face greater pressure to reopen the government on Oct. 13, when active-duty military personnel would miss their paychecks because of a funding lapse and political pressure would rise on the GOP.

Moderates Defect

Some House Republican moderates that represent areas Joe Biden won in the last presidential election are wary of a voter backlash over disrupted government services. They are considering joining with Democrats to override McCarthy and force passage of temporary funding to keep the government open until Jan. 11.

Long March

Some House conservatives want to force both chambers to pass 12 full-year spending bills for government agencies, and have brushed off the damaging impact of a lengthy shutdown. It would take weeks or months to process all of those bills and negotiate compromise versions through both chambers, making it extremely unlikely. 

–With assistance from Laura Litvan and Billy House.

(Updates with new detail, in fourth paragraph)

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