US: Kevin McCarthy says government shutdown can be avoided if…

US Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has suggested that the government shutdown might be avoided if Democratic Senators address immigration issues at the US-Mexico border in their stopgap measure. “I talked this morning to some Democratic senators over there that are more aligned with what we want to do. They want to do something about the border,” McCarthy said, as quoted by Reuters. “We’re trying to work to see, could we put some border provisions in that current Senate bill that would actually make things a lot better.” As the Senate takes a bipartisan approach to avoid a government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faces a tough task—convincing his hard-right Republicans to take an unprecedented step: approving their own temporary House measure to keep the government open.

Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy also discussed challenges in managing Republican legislators, stating (as quoted by AP), “Members say they only want to vote for individual bills, but they hold me up all summer and won’t let me bring individual bills up. Then they say they won’t vote for a stopgap measure that keeps the government open.” Meanwhile, Democratic senators have passed a bipartisan stopgap funding bill to prevent a potential government shutdown. The Senate’s stopgap funding measure extends federal spending until November 17 and allocates around $6 billion each for domestic disaster response funding and aid to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia, as reported by Reuters.

Congress stands at a pivotal moment just days before a potential disruptive federal shutdown, threatening paychecks for millions of federal workers. The shutdown could also leave 2 million active-duty military troops and reservists working without pay, close down various federal offices, and create uncertainty for Americans relying on government services, both major and minor. President Joe Biden, addressing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in California on Wednesday, expressed his view that a federal shutdown was not inevitable.

The potential government shutdown hinges on the dilemma faced by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who is under fire from hardline Republicans, specifically the ‘Freedom Caucus,’ due to his agreement on spending limits with President Joe Biden. House Republicans have opposed the spending levels for fiscal year 2024 that were outlined in a deal McCarthy negotiated with President Biden back in May. This agreement encompassed $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending for fiscal year 2024. Presently, Republicans are insisting on an additional $120 billion in cuts and more rigorous legislation designed to address immigration concerns at the US-Mexico border. McCarthy is under considerable pressure from within his caucus to meet these demands. Some hardline members have gone so far as to threaten McCarthy’s removal from his leadership role if he advances a spending bill that relies on Democratic votes for approval.