In 15 days, funding for all federal government operations will expire, barring a miracle (or House Speaker Kevin McCarthy having a personality transplant that turns him into a competent leader, which puts us back in miracle territory). A guy who lets people like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz pressure him into trying to impeach President Joe Biden based on the hallucinations of Rudy Giuliani isn’t likely to transform into a competent strategist.
The House returned from its six-week August recess Tuesday afternoon ready to do one of the easiest things Congress ever has to accomplish: spending a lot of money on the Pentagon. They failed—massively—as the extremist zealots refused to let the bill come to the floor. They didn’t do it because they’re opposed to the bill. They did it because they can, as a power flex.
No one in the House seems capable of coming up with a plan to stop them. “It’s stupid,” Idaho GOP Rep. Mike Simpson complained to Politico. “We’ve been seeing this coming for the last three or four months. I just didn’t think we were dumb enough to get there,” he said. Simpson should know better, coming from Idaho of all places, the sinkhole of GOP stupidity.
Another senior GOP member told Semafor that what happened with the “Five Families” in the “Godfather” movies is coming. “The whole family kills each other,” they said. “I think we’re close to that right now. We are in maybe the Godfather II stage.” The member is probably referring to the fact that GOP leadership in the House decided to emulate “The Godfather” by calling the various factions in the House the “Five Families.” For real. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies.
Two of those five are working on a supposed solution. A few members of both the Main Street Caucus, made up of supposed moderates, and the Freedom Caucus started meeting Wednesday to hatch some sort of stopgap funding plan, including spending cuts and border security funding.
Since Freedom Caucus guy Chip Roy of Texas is one of the negotiators, don’t expect it to work. What he’s in it for is a shutdown that they can blame on the Senate. He admitted it.
The Senate will not accept a stopgap bill or a continuing resolution that slashes funding. For one thing, it’s called a continuing resolution because what it does is continue current funding. Roy knows that. His whole group knows that. A shutdown is exactly what the Freedom Caucus wants, for whatever reason.
The “jury” does not want that. Seventy-one percent of Republicans “believe a government shutdown this fall would hurt the economy,” according to the latest polling from Navigator Research. Other Republicans understand that. “Have we ever not got blamed for a shutdown? ... I’m worried about the basic functions of government,” said Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong of South Dakota.
Making matters even worse for McCarthy, he lost another vote Friday when Rep. Chris Stewart’s planned resignation was supposed to take effect. That leaves just a four-vote margin for McCarthy.
The glaring solution—and the inevitable one—is reaching out and compromising for Democratic votes. It’s the only way this gets solved. But at this point, it’s going to take Republicans reaping the disaster of a shutdown to force them to do it.
Sign the petition: Denounce MAGA GOP's baseless impeachment inquiry against Biden
Ron Johnson derails months of bipartisan Senate work on spending bills
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What do you do if you're associated with one of the biggest election fraud scandals in recent memory? If you're Republican Mark Harris, you try running for office again! On this week's episode of "The Downballot," we revisit the absolutely wild story of Harris' 2018 campaign for Congress, when one of his consultants orchestrated a conspiracy to illegally collect blank absentee ballots from voters and then had his team fill them out before "casting" them. Officials wound up tossing the results of this almost-stolen election, but now Harris is back with a new bid for the House—and he won't shut up about his last race, even blaming Democrats for the debacle.