(Bloomberg) -- Representative Matt Gaetz, a key Republican holdout on a stopgap spending measure, said he’s ready for a multiday US government shutdown if that’ll get demands such as conservative border policies into the federal budget.
If the departments of labor and education “have to shut down for a few days as we get their appropriations in line, that’s certainly not something that is optimal,” Gaetz said on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures. “But I think it’s better than continuing on the current path we are to America’s financial ruin.”
House Republicans are expected to move forward on four appropriations bills this week, though that still leaves Congress set to miss its quickly approaching end-of-the-month budget deadline. In the meantime, Republicans are considering a stopgap measure that would fund the US government for somewhere between 14 and 60 days.
Representative Jim Jordan said that in principle “everyone wants to get the 12 appropriation bills done” but “frankly, we’re not going to get it done in the next six days.”
“So there’s going to have to be some stopgap measure,” the Ohio Republican told Fox News, though Republicans would have to “win something” in passing a so-called continuing resolution.
Democrats such as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries have repeatedly portrayed Republicans as holding the federal government hostage with a “civil war” of infighting between House factions. President Joe Biden renewed his call for Republicans to “get this done” in a speech at a Congressional Black Caucus event Saturday evening.
Conservative hardliners have been a sore spot for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who’s caught between appeasing the far right and catering to more moderate members of the House while relying on a single-digit Republican majority.
Another Republican holdout, Representative Tim Burchett, said he would “look strongly at” supporting McCarthy’s removal as speaker if he backed any budget deal that relies on Democratic votes.
“The American public needs to realize that all these fancy titles, CRs and omnibus, to confuse the American public is not working,” Burchett said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Representative Tony Gonzales, a Republican from Texas, suggested he opposes a continuing resolution.
“If there is a hard cliff, then they are forced to come together,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “And that’s what I think we need, we need to have a hard line that forces everyone to get in the room and pass these bills.”
A key McCarthy ally, Representative Garret Graves, floated the new funding option on Saturday after several far-right lawmakers rejected the idea of a 31-day continuing resolution that would cut domestic spending and include a conservative border bill.
With a narrow House majority, the small group of Republican holdouts can upend any proposed stopgap measure. While any plan passed by the House is unlikely to pass muster in the Democratic-led Senate, Republicans view the House version as a way to start negotiations with a lower spending threshold.
Gaetz, a Florida Republican, said he’s “not pro-shutdown” but wants to hold McCarthy to a promise he said the speaker made to pass “separate single-subject spending bills.”
“So I’m not here to hold the government hostage,” he said on Fox News. “I’m here to hold Kevin McCarthy to his word.”
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