GOP shutdown politics shake up Washington as Trump and Biden head for a swing-state showdown


President Joe Biden and his Oval Office predecessor, Donald Trump, are about to wage their most direct contest yet in a potential rematch as far-right House Republicans push the country to the brink of a government shutdown.

The intense activity from Washington to swing-state Michigan during this crucial week will be a reminder of how insurgency shook political institutions during the former president’s turbulent tenure and reignited chaos to power his re-election bid. Will test Biden’s ability to take advantage.

The government may run out of money at midnight Saturday as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struggles to control a burnout on his majority. The insurgents are holding funding hostage to their demands for deep spending cuts, which they have no power to force the Democratic-run Senate and White House to accept.

Trump, seeking to create chaos on Biden’s watch and advance his political goals as the GOP front-runner for 2024, is inciting his loyalists to turn off Washington.

Hundreds of miles away in Michigan, Biden and Trump will carry out their so-called general election campaigns in an early clash over blue-collar Midwestern votes against the backdrop of a strike that has crippled the iconic US auto industry. The pause highlighted a fault line between Biden’s longtime support for union workers demanding wage increases and his plans for an electric vehicle revolution that could transform the industry. Trump, who opposes plans for a low-carbon economy to fight climate change, predated the demonstration by scheduling a visit to the striking workers on Wednesday — the same night other GOP candidates will debate. In a radio ad, the former president’s team claims he has always stood up for auto workers, while the United Auto Workers union warns that Trump’s second term would be a disaster for organized workers.

The Biden campaign initially dismissed Trump’s visit as a “self-serving photo op.” But Biden then announced he would travel to Michigan for a historic march on the picket lines a day before Trump. The move represents a display of political acumen from the Biden team after days of unpleasant coverage over the president’s age, and comes as new polls on Sunday showed voters are increasingly critical of his management in November 2024. He has been locked in an ideological standoff with Trump amid the discontent. Of economy. Michigan – which Trump won in 2016 but Biden returned to the Democratic column in 2020 – will again be a key general election state.

Drama in the Wolverine State will dominate the second Republican debate, in which Trump’s huge polling lead and refusal to participate has turned into a fight for second place in the race. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will try to build on the momentum she gained from the first debate in Wisconsin last month, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is under pressure to revive a rapidly flagging campaign. The event is at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California — an incongruous choice as much of the GOP has shunned the legacy of the president who won the Cold War against Soviet authoritarianism and has now largely embraced Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. .

Those tendencies are on full display in the House GOP, which plans to hold the first hearing in the impeachment inquiry into Biden on Thursday, even threatening a government shutdown over the weekend. The comparison could fuel claims that the GOP, which has yet to show any evidence that Biden is guilty of bribery, treason or high crimes and other misdemeanors, is using impeachment to damage and undermine the president before the election. Used to be. The historical stain of Trump’s double impeachment and quadruple criminal indictments. Still, the process could increase public skepticism over Hunter Biden’s alleged influence on the campaign, which has created a perception of a conflict of interest, even though the GOP has yet to prove that the president personally benefited from the transaction. have picked up.

And Democrats now have another ethical headache, after the surprise corruption indictment against Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last week gave the GOP more ammunition for claims that Trump committed illegalities. are much more widespread than.

The showdown in the House shows that the deepening Republican civil war threatens to render the country ungovernable. In fact, it may be a desirable outcome for pro-Trump Republicans who hate what they see as a powerful administrative state or who want the dysfunction and economic turmoil that could damage Biden’s presidency and Trump’s. Can help in returning to power.

Even though much of the government would shut down at midnight Saturday unless Congress passed legislation to fund it, McCarthy sent his members home until Tuesday, as a week of legislative turmoil loomed. His speaker’s weakness was exposed as never before. The California Republican is trying to pass a temporary funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, to keep the government open to allow time for a more permanent funding fix. But radicals in his conference, including supporters of the debt and others who are trying to topple the speaker, are refusing to comply. They are demanding massive spending cuts, including spending cuts included in the deal McCarthy struck with Biden at the beginning of the year to raise the government’s borrowing limit, when A catastrophic loan default had occurred. Others want to end US support in Ukraine’s fight for survival against Russia. Not only has McCarthy not moved forward with temporary spending earmarks, he failed twice last week to pass a defense spending bill, which is usually an easy lift.

One way out of the crisis would be a coalition between moderate Republicans, who fear the shutdown could cause them to lose their seats and the GOP majority next year, and Democrats to pass a temporary spending bill. But GOP hard-liners are threatening to vote him out if McCarthy allows such a situation. Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett told Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union,” “It would be something that I would look at strongly, madam, if we were to step away from our duty to do what we said we were going to do.” Are.”

McCarthy tried to create momentum by taking a spaghetti-against-the-wall approach, trying to revive a temporary bill and even introducing several significant year-end spending bills that funded various departments. Breakdowns are responded to, which typically takes months. Complex negotiations to finalize. But even if they took some of those key measures, they still wouldn’t avert a shutdown. And even a short-term solution that he could pass with a small GOP majority would likely fizzle out once it reaches the Senate and the White House.

The speaker, who improbably managed to hold his conference together at several crisis points earlier this year, is becoming increasingly nervous. He last week criticized the far-right faction of his party, saying he wanted to “burn the place down.” Rejectionist members of the GOP convention — from deeply conservative districts where primary contests are the only elections that matter — are trying to emasculate the government by making far-reaching spending cuts. Many are undoubtedly acting on the wishes of their voters. But given that Democrats control the Senate and the White House, they have failed to build a coalition in Congress or even within their own party to take such drastic action.

However, given the small majority of voters McCarthy won in last year’s midterms — he could lose only four votes and still pass a bill along party lines — even small groups of members made big gains. Get. With their violation of fundamental American political principles of majority rule and compromise, the insurgents symbolize the GOP in the era of Trump, who defied the will of the voters by attempting to remain in power after losing the 2020 election and seeking “retribution” if they win. “Promised. Back to the White House.

As political heat rises over a potential shutdown, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited political talk shows Sunday to pressure Republicans. “The American people do not want a shutdown. As far as I can tell, the Senate is ready to go. The administration is ready to go. House Republicans need to come to their senses and keep the government running,” Buttigieg said on “State of the Union.”

The White House is planning to highlight how the shutdown will affect Americans this week, with each day highlighting different events, a White House official said.

McCarthy has warned his party that Republicans are punished by voters for the government shutdown. But Trump, who faces four criminal trials and wields considerable influence over McCarthy and his conference, is cheering on the shutdown — no matter the social, humanitarian and economic chaos it would cause. He wrote on his Truth social network that the shutdown was “the last chance to save these political lawsuits against me and other patriots.” They failed on the debt ceiling, but they should not fail now. Use the power of the wallet and protect the country!”

Despite the extraordinary possibility that Trump could be a convicted felon by Election Day, his rivals for the GOP nomination have failed to make a dent in his standing among base voters, who have taken his statements to mean his legal troubles. There are political persecutions, let alone House Republicans who take their cues from them. However, Wednesday’s debate will provide a new opportunity for other candidates to emerge as leading alternatives to the former president.

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