President Joe Biden‘s administration warned on Wednesday the dire consequences the country would face if the government shuts down and blasted House Republicans for ‘playing political games with peoples’ lives and catering to the ideological demands of their most extreme, far-right members.’
Members of the military will serve without pay, delays for travelers will increase, infrastructure projects will be halted, food safety inspections will stop, and there will be no funding for programs like Head Start, the White House warned.
Biden’s administration didn’t hold back when putting the blame squarely on House Republicans, where an internecine civil war has broken out among the conservative and moderate wings.
‘If extreme House Republicans fail to ram through their radical agenda, they plan to take their frustration out on the American people by forcing a government shutdown that would undermine our economy and national security,’ the administration said in a fact sheet.
President Joe Biden’s White House is blaming Republicans for the country facing a possible government shutdown
‘It’s time for House Republicans to abide by the bipartisan budget agreement that a majority of them voted for, keep the government open, and address other urgent needs for the American people,’ the White House said.
The deadline to fund the government is September 30th.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is working hard to convince his Republicans to come together and pass a conservative bill to keep the federal government open.
In a test vote on Tuesday, McCarthy failed to get House Republicans to pass their own defense bill. Five conservatives provided the death blow. They want to see a full government funding plan from the speaker.
McCarthy, who walked off the floor after the failed vote, told reporters: ‘Look, the one thing you´re going to learn about me: I like a challenge – I don´t like this big a challenge – but we´re just gonna keep doing it until we can make it.’
He has proposed a short-term bill, known as a continuing resolution or CR, to keep the government open while negotiations continue on a longterm funding package.
That package from McCarthy would impose steep spending cuts of more than 8% on many government services, while sparing defense and veterans accounts. It would last for 31 days in hopes of giving House Republicans time to approve the more traditional government funding bills.
The White House blasted the bill as making ‘devastating, indiscriminate cuts to food safety, education, law enforcement, housing, public health, Head Start and child care, Meals on Wheels, and more.’
The legislation also doesn’t include the $12 billion the Biden administration requested to replenish U.S. federal disaster funds nor the $21 billion requested for aid to Ukraine.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy could lose his speakership in his battle with conservatives
The last government shutdown was 2019; above a sign at the Smithsonian Zoo from that year, saying it was closed due to the shutdown
Complicating matters for McCarthy, he could lose his speakership.
The threat dates back to January when McCarthy was trying to secure enough Republican votes to be speaker. To garner enough support from the conservative wing of the party, McCarthy agreed to their demand to give them the ability to call a quick vote to ‘vacate the chair’ and remove him from office.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and other conservative lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus have been threatening to use that power.
They were furious with McCarthy’s proposed short term spending package. Gaetz said if the speaker put it on the floor would be ‘shot, chaser’ where he would immediately move to push the speaker out of his job.
‘Move the f***ing motion,’ McCarthy said in response.
Republicans hold a slim majority in the House. McCarthy can only afford to lose five votes on any piece of legislation.
Another option he has is to cut a deal with Senate Democrats and use their support to help get a federal budget passed in the lower chamber.
That would almost certainly result in conservatives trying to hold a vote to oust him from the speaker’s job.
But a government shutdown could be a political disaster for the GOP.
‘I think all of you know, I’m not a fan of government shutdowns,’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week. ‘I’ve seen a few of them over the years, they never have produced a policy change and they’ve always been a loser for Republicans politically.’