The House and Senate were each set to hold procedural votes Thursday on spending measures amid a looming shutdown deadline at midnight Saturday.
The Democratic-controlled Senate’s procedural vote was planned for a short-term stopgap measure that was forwarded along bipartisan lines Wednesday but that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has rejected.
Meanwhile, the House is set to continue voting on amendments on four appropriations bills that are unlikely to become law and cannot prevent a shutdown on their own even if they did.
Far-right House members in the razor-thin Republican-majority chamber have been leading the charge to reject spending levels for fiscal year 2024 set in a deal McCarthy negotiated with President Biden in May.
That agreement, which averted default on the nation’s debt, included $1.59 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2024. House Republicans are demanding another $120 billion in cuts. They’re also asking for tougher legislation aimed at stemming the flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The dispute is ultimately over a relatively small fraction of the $6.4 trillion federal budget. Lawmakers have not considered making cuts to popular but pricey programs such as Social Security, which maintains $1.30 trillion in budgetary resources, and Medicare, expenditures of which totaled $747 billion in 2022.
Despite the digging in by hardliners, several House Republicans have voiced support for the Senate’s stopgap legislation, such as Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) who represents a district Biden won in 2020.
“I don’t want a shutdown. I would support it,” Bacon has said.
Instead, McCarthy plans to bring a GOP-crafted stopgap bill to the floor Friday, even though such legislation would be dead on arrival in the Senate. However, it’s meant to open negotiations with Democrats in the upper chamber one day before the shutdown deadline.
Far-right Republican hardliners in the House have said they won’t vote for a continuing resolution no matter what’s in it.