Kevin McCarthy’s last-ditch plan to keep the government open collapses, making a shutdown almost certain
Kevin McCarthy. Photo via AP.

Two Florida Republicans, Matt Gaetz and Cory Mills, voted against the plan.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s last-ditch plan to keep the federal government temporarily open collapsed on Friday as hard-right holdouts rejected the package, making a shutdown almost certain.

McCarthy’s right-flank Republicans refused to support the bill despite its steep spending cuts of nearly 30% to many agencies and severe border security provisions, calling it insufficient.

The White House and Democrats rejected the Republican approach as too extreme.

The bill’s failure a day before Saturday’s deadline to fund the government leaves few options left to prevent a shutdown that will furlough federal workers, keep the military working without pay and disrupt programs and services for millions of Americans.

The outcome puts McCarthy’s speakership in serious jeopardy with almost no political leverage to lead the House at a critical moment that has pushed the government into crisis.

Ahead of voting, the Republican Speaker all but dared his hold-out colleagues to oppose the package a day before Saturday’s almost certain shutdown. The House bill would have kept operations open through Oct. 31.

“Every member will have to go on record where they stand,” the Republican McCarthy said at the Capitol.

Asked if he had the votes, McCarthy quipped, “We’ll see.”

As soon as the floor debate began, McCarthy’s chief Republican critic, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach, announced he would be voting against the package, calling its border security provisions insufficient and urging his colleagues to “not surrender.”

Gaetz and Rep. Cory Mills, a Winter Park Republican, joined all Florida’s House Democrats in voting against the deal. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, a St. Petersburg Republican, missed the vote as she is on maternity leave. The rest of the Republicans in Florida’s House delegation voted in favor of the plan.

The federal government is heading straight into a shutdown after midnight Saturday that would leave 2 million military troops without pay, furlough federal works and disrupt government services and programs that Americans rely on from coast to coast. Congress has been unable to fund the agencies or pass a temporary bill to keep offices open.

While the Senate is pushing ahead Friday with its own widely bipartisan plan favored by Republicans and Democrats to keep the government open and to bolster Ukraine aid and U.S. disaster accounts, the House has been in political chaos as the hard-right flank seized control.

The White House has declined McCarthy’s overtures to meet with President Joe Biden after the speaker walked away from the debt deal they brokered earlier this year that set budget levels.

“Extreme House Republicans are now tripling down on their demands to eviscerate programs millions of hardworking families count on,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said, “The path forward to fund the government has been laid out by the Senate with bipartisan support — House Republicans just need to take it.”

Catering to his hard-right flank, McCarthy has returned to the lower spending limits it demanded back in January as part of the deal-making to help him become the House Speaker.

The package would not cut the Defense, Veterans or Homeland Security departments but would have slashed almost all other agencies by up to 30% — steep hits to a vast array of programs, services and departments Americans routinely depend on.

It also added strict new border security provisions that would kickstart building the wall at the southern border with Mexico, among other measures. Additionally, the package would set up a bipartisan debt commission to address the nation’s mounting debt load.

The hard right, led by Gaetz, has been threatening McCarthy’s ouster, with a looming vote to try to remove him from the speaker’s office unless he meets the conservative demands. Still, it’s unclear if any other Republican would have support from the House majority to lead the party.

Associated Press


  • My Take

    September 29, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Shut it down?
    The MAGA maggots ànd Freakdumb KKKaucus want to burn it down.

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  • Biscuit

    September 29, 2023 at 2:16 pm

    Ringmaster McCarthy, resplendent in a bright red tailcoat, calls out, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, a big round of applause for…the ultra right GOP MAGAs!” Onto the House floor rolls a mini-Cooper…and out crawl ten clowns. The crowd cheers and waits to see what wild antics they will present to elicit rounds of laughter. But the ten clowns just stand there with big silly grins on their faces. The cheering fades. The clowns get angry, crawl back into their little car, and roll off the floor.
    But they will be back, and again with nothing to offer other than their own self-satisfied look-at-me grins.
    Should have introduced a dog and frisbee act, not a stupid human act. At least the dog would have worked his tail off.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    September 29, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Republicans always say “Government doesn’t work” and then prove it with their sheer incompetence.

  • PeterH

    September 29, 2023 at 3:28 pm

    As expected, the most egregious and embarrassing klowns represent the grifter State of Florida.

    Of all States in the Union, Florida receives the third most federal monies from the Federal government. For every dollar Florida sends to the National Treasury……. DeSantis grifts three dollars in return. Florida is UNABLE to pay its bills without grifting money from the Federal government.

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 29, 2023 at 6:15 pm

    if mccarthy can’t stand up to a punk like matt gaetz, then why is he the so-called leader?

Comments are closed.


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