Senate Republicans are sounding the alarm as the deadline for passing a spending bill to keep the government open edges closer. With only one week left before the Oct. 1 deadline, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is facing a tough battle to rally his own party behind a spending measure. The tensions are so high within the GOP, that some in the party are already predicting that McCarthy will have to reach out to House Democrats to get the votes needed to avoid a government shutdown.
According to Republican senators, McCarthy is facing significant challenges in his own party as he tries to garner support for any spending measure. Many GOP senators believe that the only way a spending bill can pass both the Senate and the House is if it has bipartisan support.
One unnamed Republican senator said that, sooner or later, McCarthy will have to turn to Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the House Democratic Leader, as the House is likely to pass a continuing resolution (CR) with provisions that will not satisfy the conservative members of the GOP.
It is reported that House Republicans scrapped a scheduled vote earlier this week because of divisions within their own conference, and now senators believe that the Senate will have to take the lead in passing a clean CR. This would require at least 60 votes in the Senate and then go to the House for approval in order to keep the government open.
However, Senate Republicans are not fully confident that McCarthy will be able to bridge the gap between the moderate and conservative factions within the House GOP. Some members are voicing their frustration over McCarthy’s inability to pass a rule that would allow the annual defense appropriations bill to move forward. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the failure to advance the bill “very disappointing” and urged McCarthy to take action.
Meanwhile, some Senate Republicans are losing patience with the House conservatives who have blocked McCarthy’s efforts to pass spending bills. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) suggested that it might be time for McCarthy to explore other options, including reaching out to more reasonable Democrats for support.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also expressed doubts over the demands of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican lawmakers pushing for steep spending cuts in order to approve the bill. Murkowski said that their demands are unrealistic and won’t receive enough votes to pass in the Senate.
In the midst of the growing frustration and infighting among Republicans, some House GOP lawmakers are also speaking out. Representative Don Bacon (R-Neb.) publicly criticized a small group of conservatives who are opposing any spending bill without significant spending cuts. He warned that their actions could result in a Democratic majority in the House.
The situation in the House remains tense as the deadline approaches, and McCarthy is facing increased pressure to find a solution that can pass both chambers of Congress. As the blame game continues, it remains to be seen if McCarthy can deliver a spending bill that will appease his own party and garner enough support to avoid a government shutdown.