Over the weekend, a handful of Freedom Caucusers, joined by a handful of Main Street Republicans (i.e., "moderates," whatever that means in the current U.S. House of Representatives), hammered out a spending bill that would keep the government open short term, and would avoid a shutdown. Progress, right?
Not so much, as it turns out. The basics of the plan are as follows. First, overall government spending would be cut by 1%. Not unreasonable, except this would be achieved by keeping the budgets for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans' Affairs completely intact, and slashing everything else by 8%. In addition, the proposal finds some money to increase border security. Also not unreasonable, except that the money would be mostly for restarting construction on the border wall, and also enhancing border monitoring with drones and the like. Anyone who reads this site knows all about the wall, while border monitoring is mostly just political theater, since the great majority of undocumented immigrants come to the U.S. legally and then overstay their visas.
Meanwhile, the proposal lacks any funding for certain other priorities. There's nothing for Ukraine, for example. Similarly, there's no additional funding for disaster mitigation, despite an unprecedented year of fires, hurricanes, droughts and other such phenomena.
So, let's now make a list of everyone who finds the proposal to be unacceptable:
Looking at this, does it seem like Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) can piece together 218 votes? Not terribly probable, in a world where he can only afford four Republican defectors, and with several members of his conference not even in Washington right now. And even if he pulls off a miracle, this bill will never get through the Senate and will never get Biden's signature. So, the Speaker is going to be back where he started, namely needing to come up with something that can get some amount of bipartisan support. Because there is no such thing as a bill that will please the FCers, and yet will also get past the upper chamber and the White House.
Meanwhile, the members of the Senate Republican Conference do not favor the current bill, but they do not want to be attacked as RINOs, either. So yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) & Co. made clear that they're going to hang back and let the House Republicans sort this out all by themselves.
The money runs out next Friday. That's 10 days away. (Z)