Angry McCarthy goads House Republicans in government shutdown fight

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WASHINGTON – A visibly frustrated US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy profanely goaded recalcitrant fellow Republicans in a standoff over federal spending, warning that “nobody wins” if the government is forced to shut down.

In a closed-door party meeting on Thursday, Mr McCarthy directly addressed hardline critics who have been threatening to file a “motion to vacate” challenge to his leadership unless spending for the fiscal year beginning Oct 1 is cut to a level US$120 billion (S$160 billion) lower than Mr McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden agreed to in May.

“What Kevin just said right now… to that point: ‘If somebody wants to file a motion to vacate, file the f***ing motion to vacate,’ and that’s it. And stop holding up everybody’s work,” Representative Brian Mast recounted to reporters.

Multiple Republican lawmakers described the exchange with Mr McCarthy, who endured a grueling 15 votes to win the speakership in January, agreeing to changes including allowing just one lawmaker to call for a motion to vacate.

Mr McCarthy declined to comment on his remarks.

The California Republican, facing opposition from his most conservative members, said the House of Representatives would remain in session from Monday until lawmakers agree on legislation to keep federal agencies afloat after current funding expires on Sept 30.

“When we come back, we’re not going to leave. We’re going to get this done. Nobody wins in a government shutdown. Nobody wins in a government shutdown. I’ve been here,” Mr McCarthy told reporters.

Mr McCarthy also said he would not “wait to the last minute” to move a short-term stopgap measure known as a continuing resolution, which would give lawmakers more time to negotiate full-scale appropriations legislation. But he stopped short of saying that such a step would emerge next week.

He spoke a day after Republican leaders were forced to pull an US$886 billion defence appropriations Bill, due to demands from hardline conservatives who refuse to support spending without policy riders on issues such as border security and an assurance that overall spending will be cut to a 2022 level of US$1.47 trillion.

While a fight among Republicans on spending was holding up action in the House, the Senate on Thursday in an overwhelming 91-7 vote advanced its first package of spending Bills.

Representative Bob Good, a prominent member of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, said a partial government shutdown could be worthwhile if it meant achieving the 2022 target, which is US$120 billion below the level that Mr McCarthy agreed to with President Joe Biden in May.

“We shouldn’t be afraid of a shutdown,” the Virginia Republican told reporters. “If we have to go a few days into October, that would be minimal impact.”

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

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