We are in September now, which means the government-shutdown stopwatch is ticking. This congressional calendar is even more fraught than usual because there’s just so much that Congress needs to do—and yet, House Republican extremists remain intent on creating chaos. Making matters worse, the House remains on vacation this week, and has scheduled only 12 legislative days before the fiscal year ends and government funding expires on Oct. 1.
Government funding isn’t the only thing that’s supposed to be accomplished in the next three weeks. The end of September is also the deadline for the high-stakes farm bill and a reauthorization bill—the legislation that governs how funds are supposed to be spent by agencies—for the Federal Aviation Administration. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is running out of money and needs a cash infusion to keep responding to the recent disasters in Hawaii and Florida, much less what the remainder of hurricane and wildfire season may bring.
A few weeks ago, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy floated a possible deal with Democrats to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the government running while Congress continues to work on the regular appropriations bills. At least one hard-line Republican, Georgia’s Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, has declared she won’t vote for it unless the House first votes to begin impeaching President Joe Biden.
Rep. Chip Roy of Texas is joining in, not necessarily on impeaching Biden as a condition of funding the government, but more so in opposition to having a functioning government. On Monday, Texas Sen. John Cornyn tweeted about the impending shutdown, obliquely chastising the House Republicans for being “universes” apart from Senate Republicans on funding government. Roy quickly responded by saying that Republicans shouldn’t fund “the things they campaign against - and then just shrug… border… DOJ weaponization… DOD wokeness… IRS abuse… COVID tyranny.”
That’s left McCarthy weakly arguing that if they shut down the government, then they won’t be able to keep investigating Biden. “If we shut down, all of government shuts down — investigation and everything else. It hurts the American public,” he said.
The White House has asked for a short-term continuing resolution, which is the only viable solution at this point to keep the government open. The Senate—Democrats and many Republicans—are on board. So now it all boils down to whether McCarthy will finally buck Republican extremists and work with Democrats on a stopgap bill to extend current levels of funding and likely add additional funding for disaster relief and Ukraine support.
The far-right justices on Wisconsin's Supreme Court just can't handle the fact that liberals now have the majority for the first time in 15 years, so they're in the throes of an ongoing meltdown—and their tears are delicious. On this week's episode of "The Downballot," co-hosts David Nir and David Beard drink up all the schadenfreude they can handle as they puncture conservative claims that their progressive colleagues are "partisan hacks" (try looking in the mirror) or are breaking the law (try reading the state constitution). Elections do indeed have consequences!