Aiming to avert a midnight government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Saturday that the House would put a “clean funding stopgap on the floor to keep government open for 45 days for the house and senate to get their work done.”
The proposed legislation would include status quo spending levels that the government has been working under for the past year, with only disaster relief and FAA reauthorization funding additionally attached.
Funding for politically charged issues like Ukraine aid and U.S.-Mexico border security were not set to be attached to the bill.
“The House is going to act so that government will not shut down,” McCarthy told reporters.
His latest move comes after a stopgap that included border security funding was defeated on the House floor Friday afternoon 232-198, with 21 Republicans siding with all Democrats to defeat the measure.
When asked by a reporter if he’d gotten “any assurances from any of the Republican holdouts” that they will support a clean short-term stopgap, also known as a continuing resolution, McCarthy answered bluntly, “No.”
“I have tried for eight months,” said McCarthy. “I tried yesterday with the most conservative stopgap funding bill you could find, that secure our border, that cut spending, and I couldn’t get 218 Republicans on. This will be on suspension. It takes a higher threshold, but what I am asking Republicans or Democrats alike, put your partisanship away. Focus on the American public.”
One of those “most conservative” Republicans, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, told NBC News’ Julie Tsirkin earlier in the morning, “I think we have to just break the fever dream of governing by continuing resolution. Governing by continuing resolution is why we’re $33 trillion in debt, facing $2.2 trillion annual deficits, and it’s unfortunate that a lot of my colleagues want to continue governing that way.”
When MaCarthy was asked if he was worried that a far-right House member might call for a motion to vacate—essentially, calling for a “no confidence” vote against the Speaker to have him ousted—should he try to compromise with Democrats, he responded, “You know, if somebody wants to remove because I want to be the adult in the room, go ahead and try.”
Earlier in the morning, NBC’s Tsirkin had asked Gaetz, “If McCarthy put a CR on the floor are you going to bring up a motion to oust him?”
Gaetz responded, “Well, that will be something I will chat with my colleagues about.”
A government shutdown would stymie services in such areas as food safety, air travel, national parks, and the military where roughly 2 million active-duty military troops and reservists as well as two million civilian employees could be furloughed.
The last government shutdown occurred in December 2018-January 2019 and stretched on for five weeks in a dispute between then-President Trump and Democratic Congressional leadership over funding his border wall.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, that shutdown—the nation’s longest ever—lowered the nation’s projected level of real GDP in the first quarter of 2019 by $8 billion, of which the CBO estimated only $5 billion was recovered.