House of Representatives Rejects Budget Resolution, Increasing Risk of Government Shutdown
Washington DC – On Friday, the House of Representatives defeated a resolution proposed by speaker Kevin McCarthy aimed at extending the federal budget. The resolution, which was destined to fail in the Senate, was rejected by a coalition of Democrats and 21 Republicans, marking a significant blow to McCarthy’s leadership.
The resolution sought to extend the federal government’s budget until October 31 but included deep cuts of around 30% to key programs for low-income individuals. McCarthy’s attempt to negotiate a measure with the Senate has left his leadership weakened, especially as a partial shutdown of the federal government looms.
McCarthy’s confidence may have been briefly bolstered when the House voted (218-210) to refer the resolution, which included controversial immigration proposals, to the floor. However, this optimism was short-lived, and McCarthy now faces the challenge of finding alternative solutions.
“It’s not the end, I have other ideas,” McCarthy declared after the defeat. He had previously argued that rejecting the resolution would lead to a partial shutdown and open borders. McCarthy will meet with his Republican conference before the House reconvenes on Saturday, just hours before the potential government closure.
The 21 congressional conservatives who voted against the measure included notable figures such as Matt Gaetz (Florida) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia). Some of these Republicans had expressed support for a temporary spending resolution that would process all regular budget projects. Republican John James (Michigan) referred to those who voted against the measure as “the clown caucus.”
Debates surrounding the budget resolution have exposed deep divisions between the Republican and Democratic parties. The Republican resolution sought annual cuts of $1.47 trillion in government spending, contradicting the bipartisan fiscal agreement reached between the Senate and President Joe Biden in May.
The Senate is expected to approve its own budget resolution this weekend, which includes funding for Ukraine’s conflict with Russia and assistance for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The White House has criticized the Republican resolution, stating that it violates the debt ceiling agreement and jeopardizes vital programs.
Democrats have condemned the Republican legislation for proposing significant cuts to housing subsidies, cancer research, Social Security offices, and energy subsidies for low-income families. It also restricts access to asylum and education funding, including key programs in Puerto Rico.
As tensions continue to rise, the U.S. Governors Association has called for a bipartisan compromise in the House and Senate. Despite winning battles with the approval of defense and homeland security appropriations bills, McCarthy’s Republicans faced defeat in the Agriculture appropriations bill.
Unless unanimous agreement is reached, the Senate plans to close debate on Saturday on its budget resolution. However, without agreement, the Senate will not be able to approve its legislation until Sunday, when the new fiscal year and the expected partial closure of federal government offices will have already begun.
Federal government offices have started notifying their employees that many will be sent home without pay, causing uncertainty and financial strain for more than two million workers. Approximately 1.3 million military personnel would also be required to work without pay if a resolution is not reached.