McCarthy privately outlines new GOP plan to stop shutdown, setting up confrontation with Senate


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy privately outlined a new GOP plan to keep the government open to members after a two-and-a-half-hour GOP conference meeting on Wednesday.

The California Republican later told reporters that Republican negotiators had made “tremendous progress as a whole at the convention” after days of GOP infighting and less than two weeks before the government funding deadline.

When McCarthy was asked specifically what progress had been made on the GOP short-term bill, he said Wednesday evening, “We’re very close.” “I feel like there’s still a little more wiggle room to get there,” he said of the new GOP plan. When asked specifically about the topline numbers, he didn’t go into details, but said: “We’re in a good place.”

As outlined by the speaker, the plan would keep the government open for 30 days at a $1.471 trillion spending level, a commission to address the debt, and a border security package. Separately, they also agreed to step up the year-long funding bill to the $1.526 trillion level. This level is below the bipartisan agreement the Speaker reached with the White House to raise the national debt ceiling.

This level is much lower than what senators from both parties and the White House are willing to accept, meaning it is unclear how such an agreement would prevent a government shutdown. With just 10 days left to fund the government, the new plan creates a standoff with the Senate over how to keep the government open.

As part of the deal, Republicans now believe they have the votes to move forward on a yearlong spending bill, which was rejected by five conservative hardliners on Tuesday.

GOP Rep. Mike Garcia of California said after Wednesday evening’s conference meeting that there is now “a little more clarity” on the path forward.

“We have a little more clarity about a potential plan going forward,” Garcia said, adding, “We’re still negotiating that final number and trying to figure out what we can actually do.”

Some of those who were previously opposed have now indicated that they are in support. Representatives Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Ken Buck of Colorado indicated they would vote yes on the rule and vote to advance the Defense Department bill on Thursday after the speaker reduced the spending level that Norman sought. Were staying.

“Looks like we got the votes for the rule,” Garcia said, pointing to Buck and Norman.

With McCarthy’s razor-thin margin in the chamber — and Democrats so far united against the GOP proposal — Republican leadership has been negotiating for days to try to garner enough GOP support to pass their legislation.

Asked about struggling to progress early Wednesday, McCarthy repeated his favorite line, insisting he would never back down from a challenge, no matter how messy.

“When I first went up for a vote for speaker, I was not going to step down,” McCarthy said, a reference to how he was elected speaker in January after 15 rounds and days of voting. “If there’s one thing you haven’t learned about me yet, I’ll never leave.”

However, an additional potentially complicating factor emerged Wednesday night when former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, came out in opposition to a short-term funding bill as he called on lawmakers to defund the DOJ and the investigation. Him.

McCarthy and his GOP leadership team are trying to unify the House Republican conference behind a plan to fund the government, mediating between the House Freedom Caucus and the more liberal Main Street Caucus over the weekend. But that proposed legislation faced immediate opposition from more than a dozen far-right Republican lawmakers who wanted deeper spending cuts.

Amid that standoff with conservatives, moderates in the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus are close to finalizing their own framework on a short-term spending bill that would fund the government for several months at current levels and include Ukraine aid and Disaster aid will also be included, according to two sources. Even with Democratic support, that plan may still face major challenges — not the least of which is how to get it off the ground before the government runs out of money.

There are already signs that this alternative plan may face strong headwinds not only with Republicans but also with Democrats. Representative Pramila Jayapal, a progressive Democrat from Washington state, told CNN on “Inside Politics” that she wants a “clean” continued resolution of the funding, a sign that progressives may not support some of the border security provisions that the Problem Solvers Caucus is seeking. Are members of. Keeping an eye on.

House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries met with the House Problem Solvers Caucus earlier on Wednesday, and said afterward that he needed a bipartisan agreement in line with what was already negotiated in the debt ceiling package.

“We need to find a bipartisan agreement consistent with the agreement that has already been reached,” he said.

House GOP leadership announced Wednesday night that the House would convene Friday and Saturday and vote, raising hopes that the majority had been struggling to reach an agreement all week.

The House is expected to pass a rule for the defense appropriations bill on Thursday. Assuming the rule is passed, the House will begin consideration of the defense bill and final passage is expected on Friday.

The idea then would be to pass the new GOP stopgap plan on Saturday, which is expected to take place all day.

Members were advised on Tuesday to keep their schedules flexible as voting was possible over the weekend. Members who have been filtering in and out of Whip Emmer’s office for the past two days have insisted they are making progress, but Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota told CNN earlier on Wednesday that although they are getting closer , but they are not close yet.

Representative Garrett Graves of Louisiana, who was in the room for the talks, called for changes to that schedule and anticipated working on Friday and Saturday.

“I think we’re going to be here this weekend,” he said.

When asked what exactly they would be doing and whether they would be able to vote by Saturday, Graves said, “Well, we won’t have Mardi Gras parties,” indicating that they would be voting.

Representative Steve Womack, a Republican from Arkansas who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, criticized the hardliners as a “dereliction of duty.”

“We have a handful of people who are taking over the rest of the conference, the majority of our conference has been taken hostage right now and in turn, they have held America hostage,” he told CNN.

Womack also said it was likely to extend into the weekend and “either it’s going to be good or it’s going to be bad.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

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