House Republicans Divided: Is The Stopgap Bill a Solution or a New Problem?

The Senate is advancing a temporary spending bill before the Saturday deadline when government funding ceases, bypassing the House’s actions. A bipartisan stopgap bill was unveiled in the Senate on Tuesday, aiming to prolong current funding till Nov. 17, with an allocation of nearly $6 billion for Ukraine and $6 billion for disaster relief.

To meet the Saturday midnight deadline, swift action on the bill is essential, yet House Republicans are split on this interim spending proposal. This Senate bill could corner House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. If passed, it might provide the hardline conservatives in his GOP caucus the pretext they seek to dethrone him as speaker.

The provisional bills crafted by House Republicans, though not yet forwarded for a vote, encompass conservative policy elements that would jeopardize the bill in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Likewise, the Senate’s rendition of a temporary bill, termed in Congressional lingo as a continuing resolution or CR, is unacceptable by numerous House Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer praised the bipartisan endorsement of his bill and criticized McCarthy for his struggle to garner sufficient backing for a House bill. Schumer, a New York Democrat, said, “This bipartisan CR is a transient remedy, a conduit towards collaboration and away from radicalism.”

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, aligned with Schumer, cautioning that a shutdown adversely impacts Americans and doesn’t further any political agenda. According to McConnell, government shutdowns are detrimental, regardless of the perspective, and are ineffective as political negotiation tools, inflicting “unnecessary hardships ” on countless Americans.

The brief extension of spending might lure support from House Republicans, yet the spending amounts, Ukraine aid, and absence of border security measures are deal-breakers for staunch conservatives.
House conservatives have persistently faced hurdles in advancing spending bills and achieving consensus on a stopgap bill.

A segment of hardline conservatives in the House have pledged to reject a stopgap bill, notwithstanding McCarthy’s earnest endeavors to satisfy their stipulations. The opposition is likely substantial enough within McCarthy’s slim GOP majority to torpedo the bill. Members of this group, spearheaded by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, equate backing extended spending to endorsing Democratic agendas of President Biden and ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who established the current spending thresholds.

The dissenters urged Congress to follow standard appropriations procedure during a shutdown. Their efforts paid off with four spending bills progressing to the House floor on Tuesday. Legislators averse to a shutdown have been industriously devising alternatives for temporary bills.

McCarthy is particularly fond of a version he introduced to members the previous week. It proposes reducing overall spending to $1.47 trillion, incorporating a majority of the House’s Secure the Border Act, and establishing a debt panel. McCarthy plans to present that proposal to the House floor before Saturday.

McCarthy blamed Biden and the Senate for the shutdown, saying the president must address the border crisis. McCarthy also emphasized the significance of convening with Biden promptly before a partial government closure.

“The president has the authority to avert a government shutdown by acting on the border,” the speaker stated.