Sep 26, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House Republicans finally advance four budget bills

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks with reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

House Republicans voted to advance four appropriations bills to the chamber's floor late Tuesday but Speaker Kevin McCarthy's team continued to struggle to round up the votes needed to avert a looming government shutdown.

Why it matters: McCarthy (R-Calif) has faced multiple setbacks in his push to pass a temporary funding measure to keep the government open, and his latest plan to move get a few stand-alone bills and a short-term spending plan through the House still faces significant hurdles.

  • Tuesday's vote means the House will move forward with debate and votes on appropriations bills for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Agriculture.
  • Far-right Republicans who are pressing for significant budget cuts continue to vow to tank any temporary funding bill.
  • The individual bills face challenges among McCarthy's Republicans: Some GOP members take issue with Ukraine funding in the defense bill, and there are disputes over funding for the Departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture in particular.

The big picture: Even if party-line bills manage to pass the House, they face a steep uphill battle in the Senate, which typically takes a more bipartisan approach with higher spending levels.

  • As the House GOP leadership struggles to find a path forward on government funding bills, the Senate is looking to strong-arm the House into taking up a stopgap budget plan expected to receive bipartisan support.
  • McCarthy's most conservative critics, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) have threatened to oust the California Republican if the speaker allows a resolution to extend current funding levels to be brought to the floor.
  • Moderate Republicans in the House also are looking at procedural tactics to force a vote on bipartisan stopgap plan that would include funding for Ukraine, disaster relief and border security.

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