Hard-right Republicans push dangerously closer to a disruptive federal shutdown
Kevin McCarthy. Image via AP.

Kevin McCarthy
The White House will inform federal employees today that a shutdown appears imminent.

With House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s latest funding plan in ruins and lawmakers leaving town for the weekend, there’s no endgame in sight as hard-right Republicans push dangerously closer to a disruptive federal shutdown.

The White House will tell federal agencies on Friday to prepare for a shutdown, according to an official with the Office of Management and Budget who insisted on anonymity to discuss the upcoming instructions. That’s standard seven days out from a federal disruption.

The Republican McCarthy has repeatedly tried to appease his hard-right flank by agreeing to the steep spending cuts they are demanding to keep government open. But cheered on by Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner for President in 2024, the conservatives have all but seized control in dramatic fashion.

In a crushing defeat Thursday, a handful of Republican hardliners blocked a typically popular defense bill from advancing — the second time this week it was set back, an unheard-of loss for a House Speaker.

Even a stopgap bill to keep government funding past the Sept. 30 deadline, called a continuing resolution or CR, is a non-starter for some on the right flank who have essentially seized control of the House.

“This is a whole new concept of individuals who just want to burn the whole place down,” McCarthy said after Thursday’s vote, acknowledging he was frustrated. “It doesn’t work.”

The open revolt was further evidence that McCarthy’s strategy of repeatedly giving in to the conservatives is seemingly only emboldening them, allowing them to run roughshod over their own House majority. Their conservative bills have almost no chances in the Senate.

Trump urged the conservatives to hold the line against the higher funding levels McCarthy had agreed to with President Joe Biden earlier this year and to end the federal criminal indictments against him.

“This is also the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other Patriots,” Trump wrote on social media.

“They failed on the debt limit, but they must not fail now. Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!” the former President wrote.

The White House and Democrats, along with some Republicans, warn that a shutdown would be devastating for people who rely on their government for everyday services and would undermine America’s standing in the world.

“We need the extreme MAGA Republicans to get their act together,” said House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“End the civil war,” Jeffries urged the Republicans. “Get your act together.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican and a top Trump ally leading the hard-right flank, said the House Republicans now have almost no choices left but to spend the time it takes to pass each of the 12 spending bills needed to fund the government —- typically a laborious process — even if it means going into a shutdown.

Or they can join with Democrats to pass a CR, which is sure to put McCarthy’s job at risk.

What Gaetz said he, and several others, would not do is vote for a continuing resolution that fails to slash spending.

“I’m giving a eulogy for the CR right now,” Gaetz told reporters after a late afternoon meeting at the Capitol.

“I represent Florida’s first congressional district, where during the shutdown tens of thousands of people will go without a paycheck, and so I know the impact of a shutdown,” Gaetz said. “So it may get worse before it gets better, and I have little to offer but blood, sweat, toil and tears, but that may be what it takes.”

A government closure is increasingly likely as time runs out for Congress to act.

McCarthy’s bid to move ahead with a traditionally popular defense funding bill as a first step toward keeping the government running was shattered, on a vote of 212-216. Five Republicans refused to vote with the increasingly endangered Speaker. A sixth Republican voted no on procedural grounds so the bill could be reconsidered.

Moving forward with the defense bill was supposed to be a way for McCarthy to build goodwill among the GOP House majority as he tries to pass a temporary measure just to keep government running for another month. It, too, had catered to other hard-right priorities, such as slashing spending by 8% from many services and bolstering security at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Many on the right flank opposed the deal McCarthy struck with Biden this year over the spending levels and are trying to dismantle it now. They want to see progress on the individual appropriations bills that would fund the various federal departments at the lower levels these lawmakers are demanding.

The morning test vote shattered a McCarthy strategy that had emerged just the night before. Republicans had appeared on track, in a tight roll call, to advancing the measure Thursday. Then the Democrats who had not yet voted began rushing into the chamber.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democrats yelled out to hold open the vote. She was a “no.” A few others came in behind her and tipped the tally toward defeat.

The Democrats oppose the military bill on many fronts, including Republican provisions that would gut diversity programs at the Pentagon.

As passage appeared doomed, attention turned to the five Republican holdouts to switch their votes.

GOP leaders spent more than an hour on the floor trying to recruit one of them, Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina, to vote “yes.”

“Every time there’s the slightest relief of the pressure, the movement goes away from completing the work,” Bishop said.

When asked what it would take to gain his vote, Bishop said, “I think a schedule of appropriations bills over Kevin McCarthy signature would be meaningful to you to me.”

Others were dug in, including some who had supported advancing the defense bill just two days ago when it first failed.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, a chief opponent of more aid for Ukraine in the war against Russia, said she voted against the defense bill this time because her party’s leadership refused to separate out the war money. Her stand came as Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was at the Capitol during a high-profile visit to Washington.

McCarthy had pledged to keep lawmakers in Session this weekend for as long as it took to finish their work. But they were sent home, told they could be called back on ample notice.

Many Republicans were starting to speak up more forcefully against their hard-right colleagues.

New York Rep. Mike Lawler, who represents a swing district, said he would not “be party to a shutdown.”

“There needs to be a realization that you’re not going to get everything you want,” he said. “Just throwing a temper tantrum and stomping your feet — frankly, not only is it wrong — it’s just pathetic.”


Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Tom

    September 22, 2023 at 7:44 am

    People voted for a clown show and the clowns won’t disappoint regardless of the damage to the country and the economy. Get some popcorn and relax – it’s going to be fun.

    • Earl Pitts "Political-Go-To-Guru" American

      September 22, 2023 at 9:20 am

      Relax your sphinchters Dook 4 Brains Lefty’s and RINO’s,
      Earl is clocking in a little late this mornting and I know you all have been without conservative common sense life coaching advice and guidance for just over an hour.
      I, Earl Pitts American, shudder to think of the twisted, peverse, and dangerous thoughts racing thru your demented Dook 4 Brains Lefty heads.
      I promise to stay an hour late before clocking out and thru the day I, Earl Pitts American, hereby promise to pound an extra amount of common sense conservative wisdom “Earl Pitts American Style” into your Dook Brains heads..
      So America breath a sigh of relief knowing we are all going into a great weekend under the expert guidance and tuttalidge of the one, the only, Earl Pitts American.
      Thank you Dook 4 Brains Leftists and Dook 4 Brains RINO’s!!!!!
      “Earl Is Back Back Again”
      “Earl Is Back Tell A Friend”

  • Michael K

    September 22, 2023 at 8:05 am

    Folks on the radical far right are only interested in performative stunts and social media “likes” rather than actual governing. Every member of Congress is elected to keep the government functioning and operating smoothly – not to shut it down. The cost of these stupid dramas runs into hundreds of billions of dollars – all paid for by taxpayers – and accomplishes nothing but a negative drag on the economy and market instability and makes America a laughing stock.

    Why do people like Gaetz and his party hate America so much? Can you imagine him as governor?

  • JD

    September 22, 2023 at 8:14 am

    This is will be the GOP’s death rattle.

    If one needs more evidence, just look at the special elections and the Democrats over-performing on the margins. And not just in strongholds of the Democrats. Even where the Republicans won, they performance margin favored the Democrats.

    This isn’t polling. It is real live results. It’s the “silent majority” voting quietly and consistantly now. Their losing and it’s finally going to snowball. I hope it fully extends to the cesspool politically Florida has become.

    • JD

      September 22, 2023 at 8:15 am

      Damn, I’m getting like EarL – grammar mistakes and spelling.

      • Earl Pitts "Political-Go-To-Guru" American

        September 22, 2023 at 9:37 am

        Relax your sphincter JD,
        I, Earl Pitts American, forgive your spelling errors. Rember spelling is something only nerds, dweebs, and Dook 4 Brains Lefty’s/Rino’s obsess over. I, Earl Pitts American, proclaim you to be free now, JD, and best of all you can now offically join me in razzing all the nerds, dweebs, and Dook 4 Brains Lefty’s/Rino’s on the planet.
        Welcome aboard and thank you for your support,
        “Earl Is Back Back Again”
        “Earl Is Back Tell A Friend”

        • JD

          September 22, 2023 at 10:44 am

          Don’t even attempt to put my sphincter in your mouth EarL, relaxed or otherwise.


          • Rick Whitaker

            September 22, 2023 at 1:02 pm

            i heard he wears a leg bracelet, wonder what he put in his mouth to get that.

      • Rick Whitaker

        September 22, 2023 at 12:57 pm

        that’s o.k. j.d. your post was right on the mark and i commend you for that. gop death rattle, i love the sound of that. as far as gary’s bad punctuation and spelling goes, well i assume that’s part of his tired, lame, stick. he seems to think that it is well received, no it’s not. bad jokes and bad comedic attempts are very tiring. the stupid old man is deluded and living in the past.. what worked in the 70’s and 80’s is irrelevant now. what a loser.

  • PeterH

    September 22, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    McCarthy and most moderate House Republicans are insisting there won’t be a shutdown. The only avenue for them is to cut a deal worthy of Democratic support. It’s highly unlikely that Democrats will settle for a one month short term deal. Democrats would be wise to hold out for a one year deal!

    • Rick Whitaker

      September 22, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      yeah, let the fools beat themselves. too bad the collateral damage will be severe.

      • PeterH

        September 22, 2023 at 4:25 pm

        Agree! The Republican Party needs a good shake up! The majority of today’s Republicans still support a twice impeached four time indicted incompetent grifter fool for President ….. maybe a good slap down will wake the GQP up.

  • Marvin

    September 24, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Mark my words, Trump will get over 100 million votes in 2024. That will be far to many for the dems to overcome via their 10 pm vote count suspensions due to “plumbing leaks, suddenly found ballot boxes, trailers full of fake ballots, etc”.

    Dementia Joe will be reduced to gumming jello while continuing to make racist comments.

    Shut the gov down! The mindless dems need the slap down…if you smell with the Trumpster is cooking”!

    • JD

      September 24, 2023 at 11:52 am

      Yeah- because that’s how the special elections are going all over the nation currently.

      If the House Republicans cause a shutdown of the government, they can kiss the next 2 election cycles good bye. Matt Gaetz can probably kiss his notions of FL governorship good bye too.

      It would be a smack down indeed – a blue / independent smack down on the red right mafia.

      Let’s both make the popcorn and watch the show the next week.

  • JD

    September 24, 2023 at 11:59 am

    I wonder if we can have a vote of no confidence or a recall of Gaetz?

    Can the House expel these representatives (like they did in state houses) for incompetence, no confidence or failure to govern?

    It’s time to spank the unruly children because f*cking time outs don’t seem to be working.

Comments are closed.


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