Sep 21, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP again fails to advance Pentagon funding, deepening spending crisis

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) failed for a second time on Thursday to advance a bill funding the Department of Defense, dealing another huge blow to his efforts to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Why it matters: House Republicans are in a state of crisis, unable to even begin debate on an appropriations bill that typically garners broad support.

Driving the news: The House voted 212-216 against moving the funding bill to a final vote.

  • Five right-wing lawmakers – Reps. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) – voted with Democrats against the measure.

What they're saying: Bishop suggested his vote was geared toward trying to force GOP leadership to provide a "schedule of appropriations bills” with a clear topline spending number.

  • "Every time there's the slightest relief of the pressure, the movement goes away," Bishop said.
  • Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said leadership may have to "give some concessions. And the concessions better be written in stone."

The other side: "This is nuts," said Biden-district Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.), who railed against the five GOP "no" votes.

  • "They call themselves fiscal conservatives ... But they're willing to cost us hundreds of billions, if not trillions, in government growth so they can fundraise off Twitter."

What we're watching: The vote bodes poorly for McCarthy's already grim prospects of passing a bill he rolled out Wednesday to keep the government funded until November.

  • Some moderates said they believe a short-term spending bill proposed by the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus may now be the best alternative.
  • "I would have told you this morning, 'no, probably not,' that was probably the secondary option coming into today," said Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.). "But maybe it will be the primary option moving forward."
  • "Any final bill is going to be bipartisan," said Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.). "If anybody doesn't realize that, they're truly clueless."
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