The federal government is on the brink of a shutdown as Congress has yet to pass the yearlong spending bills that fund its operations. These appropriations bills must be approved by both the House and Senate and signed by the president. Without a temporary funding measure, the government will shut down. The current impasse stems from a disagreement over spending, with right-wing lawmakers demanding deeper cuts than what was agreed upon in a bipartisan deal earlier this year. While the Senate is working on a bipartisan spending patch to keep the government open through November 17, House Republicans have passed four individual spending bills that slash funding but are unlikely to become law.
To avert a government shutdown, Congress would need to pass a temporary spending patch that reopens the government while they work on the annual spending bills. This would require bipartisan deals since Democrats control the Senate and White House, while Republicans control the House. However, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy faces obstacles in his attempts to reach a resolution. Some hard-right Republicans oppose continuing spending at current levels, even temporarily, and others are against any stopgap measures. McCarthy could potentially pass the Senate’s plan with a coalition of Republicans and Democrats, but he risks facing an internal rebellion from conservative Republicans who want him removed from his post if he does so.
Alternatively, House Republicans have pursued passing individual spending bills that include extreme policy riders and deep funding cuts. Despite three of these bills passing in the House, they are unlikely to become law or prevent a government shutdown as they will not receive support in the Senate. In an attempt to address the situation, McCarthy proposed a 30-day stopgap bill that included spending cuts and strict immigration restrictions, but it was defeated with opposition from both Democrats and the hard-right faction. Overall, reaching a resolution to reopen the government will require bipartisan negotiations and compromises, which present challenges within McCarthy’s narrow House majority.